DART is providing free rides to the public to cooling centers in Polk County Wednesday, July 19 and Friday, July 21 due to extreme heat. Riders should tell bus drivers when they board that they want to go to the cooling center. The driver will then transport riders to the nearest center. A list of cooling centers and the DART routes that service them are available here. Paratransit-approved riders can also use DART's Paratransit services to reach the cooling centers.
Polk County will be opening an overnight cooling center at Zion Lutheran Church on Friday, July 21. DART riders can access this shelter by riding Local Route 14. Riders will want to plan to arrive at the center before 11 p.m. DART will provide free return trips to riders who stay at this center on Saturday morning.
Riders are asked to consult schedules on ridedart.com to locate the next bus nearest them. They can also contact Customer Service with questions about this service. The number to contact is (515) 283-8100. For calls after 7 p.m., riders are asked to contact (515) 283-8108.
Anyone is at risk for heat related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. This is especially true for young children, older adults, individuals with chronic health conditions and anyone spending significant time outdoors.
With many outdoor events going on this week, individuals need take the following precautions to avoid heat related illnesses:
- Be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Drink plenty of water. DO NOT wait until you are thirsty to drink. Avoid drinking alcoholic and caffeinated beverages as they dehydrate you.
- Take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors. Spend at least two hours in air conditioning each day.
- Try to avoid being outdoors in the hottest portion of the day: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.