FISH Provides Relief When the Heat Cranks Up

Southwest Florida experienced the hottest May on record, prompting Lee County, in collaboration with United Way, to establish cooling stations at various locations to assist those unable to escape the dangerous heat. 

FISH OF SANCAP, serving the community as the Sanibel United Way House, will be the designated cooling station for the islands, offering a comfortable location for anyone seeking relief from the heat. These cooling stations will be activated by the County when the National Weather Service issues a Heat Watch or Warning, indicating temperatures exceeding 103° or a Heat Index above 108°. The FISH cooling station, located at 2422 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel FL, will provide beverages, cooling towels, electrolyte drinks, and snacks. Once activated, the station will be open to the public from 11 am to 4 pm. 

“According to the CDC, higher temperatures increase the risk of heat exhaustion, dehydration, and breathing problems, particularly for those with disabilities and chronic health conditions,” notes Manuela Martinez, Disaster Administrative Director, FISH. “We are committed to providing relief to those who need it, and will be checking on our senior residents and families with young children to ensure they are staying cool and healthy.”

Martinez also highlighted the National Integrated Heat Health Information System’s findings that the groups most at risk include children, older adults, people experiencing homelessness, people with pre-existing conditions, people with disabilities, indoor and outdoor workers, emergency responders, low-income communities, pregnant people, athletes, and more.’i 

High temperatures can lead to heat stroke and other serious health issues. In response to high heat indexes across the nation, cooling stations are becoming increasingly more common. According to, in the second week of June, heat-related illnesses per 100,000 people nationwide jumped 107% from 2020 to the same period this year.” 

“We urge everyone to monitor temperatures and stay indoors in air-conditioned environments when it’s particularly hot,” added Martinez. “Stay hydrated, especially when outdoors, and avoid being outside during the peak heat of the day, usually late afternoon.” 

Additional reminders include never leaving children, seniors, or pets in a parked car, even briefly. If someone shows signs of heat exhaustion, heatstroke, or another health emergency, seek medical help immediately. FISH encourages community members to follow their social media accounts for updates on cooling stations and safety tips throughout the high-heat months.