By Joel Thomas CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The families splashing in the play areas of the Marine Creek Park Pool in Fort Worth had no idea the pool’s water had to be pumped through a cooling device to keep it from being too warm.  They just knew that on the year’s hottest day so far the water was welcome relief.

“We’re from California,” said Jennifer Wagner who was at the pool with her one-year old daughter.  “In the pool we’re doing fine.” But outside the pool in the searing heat;  “Not so well!” Wagner laughed.

Not everyone has access to the cooling waters of a splash park and pool. For many people, battling the heat is a matter of life and death.

The homeless and people without air conditioning turn to the cooling stations at the Salvation Army.  They are the bare essentials — cold water and a cool place to rest in the building’s gymnasium.


And to Sammy Reyes and his boys who have nowhere else to go, the cooling station is a God-send.

“I don’t know where I’d be without this place,” Reyes said as he sipped a cup of water.  “As hot as it is, they give us a cool place to stay in the cool and plenty of cold water. And its a real blessing this place is here.”

In Dallas County, health department workers install free air conditioners for those who can’t afford them.

Without the A/C, the temperatures in the homes soar.  And, most worrisome for health workers, there is no escape from the heat when the sun goes down.

“I’m mostly concerned about the nighttime temperatures of 80 degrees and above,” said Zach Thompson of Dallas County Health and Human Services. “That’s because your body is not able to cool off. Therefore, those with medical conditions or just trying to be ‘Texas tough’ and not using an air conditioner are really opening themselves up to heat related illness or possible death.”

Thompson asked people to check on their neighbors, especially the elderly or ill, to ensure they were staying cool and hydrated.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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