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Stifling heat adds extra challenge to flood recovery

By WKTV News

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) – Flood recovery has been challenging and the stifling heat is making conditions worse, especially for the elderly victims.

“We’ve gotten several calls about families having mushrooms growing in their house and mold and water still standing in their house and the elderly not being able to pull things from their basement and their carpet up so they're really struggling with trying to manage all of the housing things to come out into the front of their house,” said Captain Dorothy Budd of the Salvation Army.

Phones have been ringing off the hook at the Office for the Aging in Herkimer. Director Kathy Fox says they’re trying to help anyone they can.

“Anybody who's a vulnerable population right now, we’re sort of trying to jump in to help anybody who needs assistance in that area, whether it be they don't know who to call. If they need help we want them to know the Office for the Aging is a place that they can call and we will try to direct them to the right place,” said Fox.

Fox says the best thing you can do is to check on your neighbor and make sure they’re not suffering from heat exhaustion and fatigue. She also offered some tips so you can keep yourself safe.

-Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated
-Stay out of the sun and inside your home
-Take your medication properly
-Maintain proper nutrition

Fox says residents are experiencing more than physical stress. The severe flooding and financial hit residents are taking from damaged homes is emotionally exhausting.

“It’s the heat exhaustion piece, but it’s the mental health component of this too,” said Fox. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

The Salvation Army located at 431 North Prospect Street in Herkimer is also working to keep homeowners cool.

“The building here at North Prospect is open as a cooling station. If people need to come in, there's air conditioning. They can come in and have a nice cold drink relax and chat for a bit and get away from what’s going on and just refresh for a bit," said Budd.

If President Obama issues a disaster declaration and FEMA aid becomes available, Fox says they will help people with paperwork. The application process can be very confusing, so people should be aware of this great resource.

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