Mayor Sly James went to the Kansas City Emergency Operations Center for a briefing on readiness for the All-Star Game and most immediate interest shifted to the heat wave.
The center at 6th and Woodland is on the ground floor of Fire Department Headquarters. The atmosphere is an odd mixture of formidable security and bureaucratic function. Secure doors lock the Emergency Operation Center from public access while, a short distance down the hall, dancers and strippers go for licensing at the Regulated Industries Office.
The EOC is packed with electronic gear to use for communication in any crisis.
A safe and secure All-Star Game Baseball had been at top of the list for the mayoral briefing. However, the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning through Saturday evening.
The Mayor was expressing added interest in health of residents and guests to the city.
Emergency Center Manager Gene Shepherd said buses have been put in place to move those in peril but not yet emergency cases--“city cooling centers are our community centers and fire department will have transportation available. If they would call 3-1-1, they will hook them up and get a fire department van there.” Shepherd, a retired deputy fire chief, said the vans will “transport anyone, including those who may need handicapped transportation.”
Shepherd said the city learned much from the record heat storm of 1980, when more than 150 people died from the summer of heat.
The Kansas City Health Department compiled data from that summer when 157 deaths were recorded as well as 443 heat related illnesses.