What does Code Red mean?
When the heat and humidity rise to dangerous levels, Mel Trotter Ministries goes into a “Code Red” policy which extends extra grace and support to individuals and families who are in crisis.
This policy includes:
- 24 hours of cooling center options inside the building
- Cold water at every entrance
- On-site medical staff to assess for heat related illness
- Lifted curfew times, access to evening shelter earlier than the normal schedule
- Removing previous restrictions to enter shelter for people who have violated rules
- A team conducting outreach to people who are living in camps, bridges, and other areas of the city and offering them food, water, cold towels and transportation back to the Mission.
On a recent outreach trip, the Mel Trotter Ministries outreach team searched a park and discovered Rachel. She was fleeing domestic violence, overheated, thirsty and laying in the shade. With the compassion of Jesus Christ, the team provided water, listened to her story and offered her resources to get to cool, safe shelter. Donors, volunteers, and community partners make this life saving ministry possible.
How does the heat affect those experiencing homelessness?
Wendy, a nurse in our Public Inebriate Shelter, frequently receives calls about guests struggling in the extreme heat. Recently she received a call that there was a man outside of Mel Trotter Ministries suffering from heat exhaustion. The man had spent time in our day center but thought he had cooled off enough to walk to nearby Heartside Park. Our security staff found him across the street laying half on the sidewalk; half in the street, half underneath a tree. It was clear he had done too much. Nurse Wendy checked his vitals and provided him with water to help him cool down. He was able to walk back to the Mission where he was provided with more water, care, and the compassion of Christ.
What can you do if you see someone struggling in the heat?
Nurse Wendy shared some advice on how to help those who are experiencing homelessness out on the streets. "Encourage them to drink water and stay hydrated. Water or Gatorade are the best - anything to replenish what they've lost. If you don't feel like you're able to help, please call 9-1-1 so they are able to get the medical attention they need. The best thing you can do is encourage them to find a cooling center and a safe place out of the heat."
The rising temperatures are not just an inconvenience for our neighbors who don't have a place to live ... they're downright dangerous.
Click the photo to learn more about the signs of heat-related illnesses and how you can help your neighbors experiencing homelessness during these extreme temperatures.