Contact: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J.-Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes reminded residents today of several ways to beat the heat during the upcoming summer months, and announced that the County still has some 100 air conditioning units available via the United Way's Medi-Cool Program for residents in need.

"The County offers several different ways to stay cool when the weather gets hot," said Hughes, "and because we offer such a tremendous variety of cooling options, I'm proud to say that we really do make great options available for pretty much every lifestyle and special need."

Mercer County offers a variety of options for residents who need help cooling their homes for the summer.  Apart from the cooperative Medi-Cool Program with the United Way, these include hotlines for assistance, helpful literature on staying cool, and a summer home cooling program for low-income senior citizens and individuals with disabilities.

Summer Cooling Sites are designated locations throughout Mercer County, and include municipal senior centers, neighborhood community centers and the nine Mercer County Library System Branches.  Seniors, especially those without air conditioning in their homes, are encouraged to use these sites during the day to alleviate the negative health effects of the oppressive summer heat.  A heat safety tips flyer has also been created for mass distribution at all Mercer County Congregate Nutrition sites, senior centers, and Cooling Sites.  An electronic version will also be posted on the Mercer County web site.

The Medi-Cool Program is facilitated by the United Way, Catholic Charities, and Princeton Senior Resource Center, via the use of County funding provided by the Office on Aging.  Income qualified seniors aged 60 and older with a documented health condition can receive a voucher that entitles them to a free air-conditioner. In 2007, the United Way was able to purchase 173 air conditioner units, approximately 100 of which remain available for use as stated above.

In addition to making cool sites and home cooling appliances available, the County also offers a "Warmline" via the Office on Aging. During daytime hours, residents can call (609) 989-6661 or toll-free (877) 222-3737 for assistance in coping with the heat.  During non-business hours, residents are encouraged to call 911 if they experience heat-related problems.

Finally, the County offers literature on keeping cool during heat waves; residents can access these brochures via the County website or pick up hard copies at municipal senior centers and branches of the Mercer County Library System.  Depending on availability, TRADE may be able to assist with transportation to and from these sites. Residents are encouraged to call (609) 530-1971 if they anticipate requiring transportation assistance.

"I encourage everyone to make use of the resources we offer for keeping cool without breaking the bank," said Hughes.  The County Executive added that July is National Air Conditioner Appreciation Month, a time for residents to make use of cooling options made available by their local governments and also to maintain their air conditioners well to maximize energy efficiency and keep costs low.