MASON CITY, Iowa - It's going to be one of the hottest days of the year on Friday, and there probably won't be a lot of people outside. You may end up staying indoors in the AC, but for those who may not have one, there are some resources in the community to help them avoid the swelter.
Rex Colling is at the Community Kitchen of North Iowa eating a meal with friends. He says the building can provide a refuge from the heat.
"I wouldn't be here if they didn't have a way to open the windows in here. It'd be stifling without air conditioning."
And he's not alone.
"There are a lot of people here that are here to get a meal and cool off from the heat outdoors."
Amy Kern is in town visiting her father-in-law, and notes that many larger cities have cooling centers.
"I think that it's great for people who need air conditioning to have a place that they can go in these heatwaves, because it is very hot and humid."
The Salvation Army has tried to establish them in the past, but had low turnout. If Mason City does activate one again, Kern hopes that it's more centrally located.
"I think that definitely being at a place that's most accessible to the people who need them the most would be helpful."
Steve O'Neill from Cerro Gordo County Emergency Management says there are no plans to open a joint cooling center with the Salvation Army yet, but that may change depending on Friday's conditions.
Both the Salvation Army and North Iowa Community Action do have free fan/AC programs, though the Salvation Army has had a lack of donations so far. Applicants for NICA's program must be eligible for energy assistance. As of Thursday evening, they have 15 AC units, while fans are on a case-by-case basis.
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