PCA HEATLINE RECEIVED MORE THAN 1,300 CALLS
DURING THREE ACTIVATIONS SO FAR THIS YEAR
The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) Heatline received 1, 326 calls from Philadelphia residents during the three activations that have taken place so far this year. Of those, 111 callers were referred to nurses from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health who were stationed at the site. Nurses dispatched the city mobile health team to intervene in one case and called 9-1-1 for emergency assistance on behalf of two other callers.
“We believe – and statistics show – that we are helping to save lives by providing this service,” says Chris Gallagher, director of the PCA Helpline Call Center — 215-765-9040 — which becomes the city’s Heatline during a potentially dangerous heat wave.
The PCA Heatline was created in 1993, following a heat wave the previous year that claimed 118 lives. It is a collaboration between PCA and Philadelphia’s Health Department, and has been recognized as a model nationwide.
Trained staff members from PCA are available to counsel callers with tips to prevent heat stress and suggest air-conditioned locations where they can go. Callers with medical concerns are referred to city Public Health Department nurses.
Activations are triggered when the National Weather Service declares an “Excessive Heat Warning for Philadelphia.” The latest activation began Wednesday, July 20 and ended on Sunday, July 24. The HEATLINE was previously activated this year from June 8 to 9 and from May 31 to June 1 – its earliest activation ever.
The elderly; individuals with chronic medical conditions; those on medication; homebound individuals; and persons who live alone and receive few visitors are encouraged to call the Heatline for advice on coping with the heat. In addition, callers may contact the Heatline on behalf of another individual who may be at risk for heat stress.