Evon Ingram enjoys studying at the Muskogee Public Library, not only for its study books on medical billing and coding, but because it’s cooler.
The Muskogee woman has been living with no air conditioning for a month because her two window units broke down before the dog days of summer started, she said.
Ingram, 53, said she would be getting a replacement unit next week from her church, so she won’t have to camp out studying at the library as the days get hotter.
To help Muskogee residents cope with the sweltering heat, several local shelters have opened cooling stations offering temporary relief.
The Gospel Rescue Mission opens its “extreme weather shelter” in the summer when the temperature is at least 94 degrees, Director Jack Murr said.
Normally open 24 hours for clients, the Gospel Rescue Mission will take referrals from the city and other local shelters to provide food, water and medical attention, Murr said.
The shelter’s visitors tend to be Gospel Rescue’s regular clients as well as people who have broken air conditioners or are elderly, he said.
Visitors can stay as long as they need to, Murr said.
“We feel like we have a responsibility to the community to provide shelter, particularly during extreme weather, that might be outside of our normal focus,” he said.
The Salvation Army’s cooling station is open 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Salvation Army Capt. Ben Walters said. It has been open every day since summer started.
The station, which is in the Salvation Army office, has water, a large TV and a food pantry, Walters said.
Kisha Chambers, a Salvation Army social services worker who coordinates the cooling station, said it is the only other one besides the Mission’s that has a shower and laundry area.
The station offers towels, soap and shampoo, and laundry services are free, Chambers said.
She added that the organization welcomes donations for the cooling station, including food, shampoo, laundry detergent and towels.
The city will not open any cooling station unless the Salvation Army’s doesn’t have enough room, said Jimmy Moore, the director of the City of Muskogee’s emergency management operations.
“There’s no sense of duplicating resources when there’s a place to go. It’s not very smart,” he said.
The city will open a station at the Civic Center when the average daily temperature has been more than 100 degrees for three consecutive days, he said.
Reach Alex Ewald at (918) 684-2923 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Places to cool off
• Muskogee Public Library, 801 W. Okmulgee Ave.
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday
9 a.m. to 5:30 Saturday
• Gospel Rescue Mission, 326 S. Second St.
Open 24 hours.
• Salvation Army, 615 S. Main St.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Thursday.