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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: July 3, 2014


NEW CASTLE (July 3, 2014) - To improve coordination of resources available to Delawareans who are vulnerable to the effects of heat extremes, a coalition of government and nonprofit agencies is working together to promote the availability of those services through Delaware 2-1-1.

Delaware residents who are vulnerable to extreme heat and are in need of services or supports - including seniors, people with disabilities and individuals with underlying medical conditions - are encouraged to call Delaware 2-1-1. Starting on Sunday, high temperatures are expected to be in the high 80s to low 90s all week.

The average temperature in Delaware has increased over the last 110-115 years, and the number of days with temperatures over 95 degrees and over 100 degrees is also increasing. That puts people who are vulnerable to those increased temperatures at greater risk for heat exhaustion, heat stroke, severe respiratory conditions and other heat-related illnesses.

"With the increasing frequency and duration of heat waves in Delaware, it's important that we connect vulnerable residents with critical services," Gov. Jack Markell said. "By using Delaware 2-1-1, government agencies at all levels - along with nonprofit organizations - can coordinate their efforts to better serve people in need."

Among the services that Delaware 2-1-1 can refer eligible callers to:

"Throughout the summer months - especially during extreme weather conditions - it is more crucial than ever for us to work together united as one community to ensure our neighbors are quickly guided to agencies, or faith-based organizations who can provide right support or services to meet their needs," said Donna Snyder White, Director, Delaware 2-1-1.

"As a state, we need to be aware of the danger of extended heat waves," said Dr. Awele Maduka-Ezeh, medical director of DHSS' Division of Public Health. "We ask that you have a plan if you lose power or are without air-conditioning and that you check on vulnerable family members and neighbors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat ranks among the top weather-related killers in the United States. Unfortunately, we already have confirmed the first heat-related death in Delaware this year."

A 56-year-old Sussex County man, who died June 18, was this year's first confirmed heat-related death in Delaware. In 2013, there were three confirmed heat-related deaths.

Tips to prevent heat illness:

Heed the following heat danger warning signs and take suggested actions:

For more info, visit the CDC at

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.