Community group in Orlando helps residents stay safe from the heat
Lawanna Gelzer created the Extreme Heat Task Force in Orlando to help spread awareness of the dangers of these rising temperatures and overexposure to heat.
Community leaders in Orlando have assembled a task force to help residents stay safe during Florida’s heat wave. The group met Thursday to distribute heat stress first aid kits and information about heat exposure.
Organizer Lawanna Gelzer created the Extreme Heat Task Force to provide resources and knowledge to combat the hot temperature.
She’s urging regional leaders to provide more resources to the community and worries that residents aren’t prepared for the dangers of heat.
Gelzer said the primary function of the Extreme Heat Task Force is to start the conversation of temperatures that could be dangerous to one's health.
“This is not a one-time event," she said. "This will be a part of our life. We need to make sure, just like those up north prepare for the cold, we need to start preparing for how we will deal with the heat — and be safe."
Beating the heat
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 600 people die in the U.S. every year due to extreme heat. Those that are most at risk from heat illnesses or death are children, older adults and people with chronic diseases or mental illnesses.
In the U.S, more than 2,000 high-temperature records have been set in the past 30 days, according to federal data.
Gelzer created the heat stress first aid kits, which include a mini fan, cold packs, electrolyte tablets and drink mixes, waterproof tape, disposable thermometers and an emergency blanket.
They are be available the Ms. Betty Resilience Hub Learning Center, which was started when Gelzer's mother, Betty, donated property to support the community. Gelzer said her mother was a pillar of the community for decades.
The hub serves as a root for the community, and Gelzer wants to make sure her community thrives. She says they cannot wait for heat and residents need to be proactive.
"We're collecting information mapping our communities." she said. "We're looking to find out where we can have cooling stations. What is going on the ground, who's really in need, so we can go and try to fill in the gaps. We're not the only organization, but we're out doing what needs to be done in our community."
Copyright 2023 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.