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Much-needed Cool Zones provide heat relief in Salt Lake County

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 20:35:44-04

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah continues to see near triple-digit temperatures around the state, many are looking for ways to stay cool.

In Salt Lake County, dozens of "cool zones" opened in June at senior centers, recreation centers and both the Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County Libraries.

"The cool zone is a really, it's a very basic concept," said Afton January, Communications Manager for Salt Lake County Aging Adult Services.

The designated area in the River's Bend Senior Center serves as a safe haven for those, age 60 and up, to escape the heat.

"It is air conditioned and much cooler than it's going to be outside; there is some kind of a source of water like a drinking fountain, and you can usually have a place to sit down in order to participate in the programs and activities at a lot of our facilities," said January.

She says the cool zones at the recreation centers and the library allow people of all ages to also escape the heat.

"We started doing the cool zones in 2014, when our frontline caseworkers and meals-on-wheels drivers and folks who work directly, particularly with older adults were finding that a lot of people were suffering with our increasingly hot summer temperatures," said January.

January say the cool zones also way to provide a public health option for people, especially those who don't have air conditioning at home. She says this can help them avoid any heat related illnesses.

"That really is the primary concern, with the reason that we started the cool zones was concern over older adults, People with disabilities, young children who are most vulnerable to heat related illness."

Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services has partnered with the county library, Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation, and the Salt Lake City Library to operate Cool Zone program.

The cool zones will remain open across the county until October 15.