DENVER (KDVR) — July Fourth may have been Monday, but Mother Nature’s Show is set for the weekend. Forecasters predict temperatures could reach triple digits.

Recognize the signs of heat-related illness

Dr. Sterling McLaren is the chief medical officer for the Denver Medical Examiner’s Office. She advised that the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are the hottest each day.

Thankfully, Denver has not had any heat-related deaths this year, but residents should be aware of heat-related illness symptoms:

  • Hot skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness

As always, hydration is the key.

“Wear lots of light clothing. Try to stay cool. Stay inside, where there’s air conditioning, McLaren said.

Denver cooling centers open

Denver is offering some of its public facilities to help people keep cool.

Denver said all currently operating recreation centers will be open to the public as cooling stations during regular business hours. No fees will be required.

The city urged people to check the hours before visiting a recreation center, as weekend hours vary.

Some Denver Public Library locations will also be open as cooling centers, except for the Central Library, the Ross-Cherry Creek Branch Library and Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.

Aurora cooling centers open

Aurora is opening cooling centers on Saturday and Sunday at the following locations:

  • Aurora Public Library (Central): 14949 E. Alameda Parkway
    • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Sunday: Closed
  • Hoffman Library. 1298 Peoria St.
    • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Sunday: Closed
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Library. 9898 E. Colfax Ave.
    • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Sunday: Closed
  • Aurora Day Resource Center, 13387 E. 19th Place
    • Saturday and Sunday: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Please note that the Aurora Day Resource Center is the only Emergency Cooling Station open Sunday.

Learn more information on Aurora’s cooling centers here.

Help prevent heat-related illness

Denver offers these tips to help prevent heat-related illness:

  • Stay inside in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. Air conditioning is the number one way to protect yourself against heat-related illness. If your home is not air-conditioned, visit one of Denver’s cooling stations 
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink 
  • Fans will not prevent heat-related illness in extreme heat, instead take cool showers or baths to cool down  
  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter 
  • Don’t drink alcohol or beverages that contain caffeine 
  • Limit your outdoor activity, especially during the middle of the day when the sun is hottest 

If you must be outside during the heat of the day, follow these tips:  

  • Wear and frequently reapply sunscreen  
  • Pace your activity and rest often 
  • Pay attention to muscle cramping, which may be an early sign of heat-related illness. To combat cramping and heat-related illnesses, drink more water than usual  
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and a hat  

Keep animals safe from the heat

Denver Animal Protection also reminds people never to leave their pets alone in vehicles and to keep them cool during the summer heat. If any animal may be suffering heat stroke, the city advises the following:

  • Move the animal to shade or a cooler area
  • Cool the pet down with water or ice packs on the stomach only
  • Offer cool drinking water, but do not force-feed it
  • Don’t dunk the pet in water. This can hurt them even more when their temperature regulation is impaired. 
  • Don’t cover, crate, or confine the animal
  • Even if your pet responds to cooling treatments, it’s critical your pet sees an emergency veterinarian to see if it has suffered irreversible damage

Denver advises that anyone who sees a dog in a hot car can report it to 311 or the Denver Police non-emergency number, 720-913-2000.

Denver also has a Good Samaritan law that gives legal immunity to people who break a locked car window to save an animal, but only under these conditions:

  • You must believe the animal is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury
  • The vehicle must be locked
  • You must make a ‘reasonable effort’ to find the vehicle’s owner
  • You must contact the Denver Police Department, Denver Fire or DAP before entering the vehicle 
  • You cannot use more force than necessary to free the animal
  • If you break a window, you must remain with the animal and on scene until police or DAP officers arrive