Town helps seniors, residents beat the heat

Beach safety tips, and additional concerns about shark sightings also addressed


The Town of Hempstead is helping residents beat the heat. With last week’s heat wave seeing temperatures well into the mid-to-high 90’s, and a real feel of the triple digits, residents needed to cool off. During times of extreme heat, seniors or individuals who may not have access to air conditioning have a hard time staying cool.

At a press conference at the Merrick Senior Center, Town Supervisor Don Clavin, joined by Town Councilwoman Missy Miller, announced a solution to keep everyone cool. Along with extending beach hours to 7 p.m. through the heat wave, Clavin announced that senior center along with other Town of Hempstead Senior Centers would serve as cooling stations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We’re happy to find our seniors not only with a nice cool beverage with some ice, but if residents don’t have that ability to have an air conditioner at home, come down to one of the many Town of Hempstead Senior Centers,” Clavin said. “It’s going to be hot and it’s going to be extreme temperatures — you have got to take care of yourself and of course, you want to hydrate.”

Seniors have been taking full advantage of the cooling center, including seniors Sandra and Victor Rodman, who are Oceanside residents but came to enjoy the cooling center at the Merrick-based center.

“It’s great,” Sandra said. “We have someplace to go and we still have people to talk to.”

With the extreme heat, residents may also be looking to take a beach trip, but an increase in shark sightings may make them nervous to do so. Clavin updated residents on more sightings, this time two sharks off the shorelines in Atlantic Beach. Precautions were made and swimmers were removed from the water. Many of the shark sightings in the last few years are sharks that like to come close to the shoreline where the swimmers are.

While stressing precaution, Clavin gave his vote of confidence to local lifeguards.

“I get people that are very sensitive to reading about sharks but our lifeguards are watching you — they’re also watching the water,” Clavin said. “Our lifeguards are trained in identifying dorsal fins and being able to distinguish between a dolphin and a shark. We have instituted our jet ski patrol that is going up and down these waters to maintain your safety.”

Clavin noted that the increase in shark sightings is a concern that the Town and other areas across the island are monitoring. “We’ve had more shark sightings in two years than we have in a decade” he said. “I think this is more than the norm and everyone’s got to take precautions. From Jones Beach to Long Beach, all the way to Atlantic Beach. Your jurisdictions are talking to one another.

“We understand there are lots of sharks in the waters, but we want to enjoy ourselves,” he added.  “We want you to beat the heat and you do that by going to the pool, going to a cooling center, or going to the beach and being smart.”

Miller further emphasized Clavin’s suggestion to be cautious when going near the water.

“We know that sharks are always in these waters, in all of the ocean waters,” Miller said. “The difference is they are a little bit closer, where bathers are. Just be smart, use common sense, and listen to the lifeguards and we can prevent some disaster or shark bite. Even though we acknowledge that sharks are always in our waters, we have the ability to prevent any injury.”

“By taking some simple precautions,” Clavin added, “We can ensure that all residents stay safe while enjoying our beautiful pools and everything that our town has to offer.”