PLAISTOW — Citing a lack of interest and difficulty opening public spaces because of the coronavirus crisis, Plaistow is not offering a cooling station this summer during heatwaves as it has for the past two years.
“There are challenges this year that we didn't have last year, that being the coronavirus,” Town Manager Mark Pearson said.
He explained that over the past two years the town had set up a cooling station, but residents didn't show any interest.
"Anecdotally, both years no one took us up on our offer," Pearson said. "That doesn't mean we couldn't offer it again."
Cooling stations are designed to provide an air-conditioned escape from the heat for residents who don't have air conditioning at their homes.
In previous years, the town's Community Emergency Response Team had staffed a cooling station during heatwaves, Pearson said.
Even though the town is not setting up a cooling station, help will still be provided to people seeking to get out of the heat, town officials said. They said it can come in the form of transportation to cooler locations, such as a shopping mall.
"During the day, there are some alternatives if they have transportation," Pearson said. "If they don't have transportation, that's where we could come in and help them."
Pearson encouraged people to call the non-emergency number for the police and fire dispatch center if they need help during heatwaves.
"We are not going to not help people if they need help," he said.
In Salem, New Hampshire, there has never been a specific cooling station during heatwaves, Fire Chief Larry Best said. There hasn't been much interest from the community, he said.
"We haven't really had requests for cooling stations," Best said.
During heat waves "we always put out information (encouraging residents) to check on your elderly neighbors and neighbors with any special medical needs."
He suggested people possibly go to the Mall at Rockingham Park if they need a place to have a reprieve from the heat. The mall has reopened, he said.
"During the hot weather, just use caution and pace yourself," Best said. "Be careful with the hot weather."