Older Marylanders and Disabled Feel Brunt of Summer Heat and Extreme Weather

With a scorching-hot summer reaching a point of devastation this past weekend, Secretary of Aging Gloria Lawlah urged Marylanders to check on any older or disabled friends, neighbors or family members to make sure they have access to adequate resources during this difficult time. Governor Martin O’Malley issued a State of Emergency on Saturday in the wake of a violent, hurricane-like storm called a derecho which covered the state, causing widespread power outages, snarling traffic, and complicating relief efforts to combat the intense heat in the region during the month. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) posted on its website a list of cooling centers operating around the state, some steps to take to avoid heat-related illness, and a map showing where power outages occurred in the region.

“The storm that touched down on Friday continues to cause a great deal of pain and suffering for Maryland families – and especially so for the most fragile among us: seniors and the disabled,” according to Secretary Lawlah. “If you know of anyone without proper cooling and ventilation where they live, please help them get to one of the designated cooling centers and encourage them to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.”

During the past two weeks, a string of days with temperatures hovering in the 90’s and heat indices rising to a hundred degrees or more caused MEMA and health departments in the local jurisdictions to open cooling centers and alert the public to the dangers of such extreme heat. The situation went from bad to worse late Friday night when an unexpectedly violent storm system quickly wreaked havoc across a wide swath of the Mid-Atlantic states, including Maryland.

A reported 840,000 Marylanders lost electricity because of the storm, trees and branches littered roadways in the wake of the powerful winds, and many traffic lights are still out across the State. The debris-filled roads, numerous detours, and non-working traffic lights have been frustrating and confusing to many drivers. Because the sweltering heat continues, many families without power are staying with friends or relatives, or renting rooms at local hotels.

For updated information, visit the Department of Aging’s website at www.aging.maryland.gov and its Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/MarylandDepartmentofAging.