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4 heat-related deaths reported in Albany within a week

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Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 6:47 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - In the last seven days, Albany has seen four possible heat-related deaths.

Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler says those that died were all men, between 49 and to 63-years-old. They all had underlying health issues, like high blood pressure and diabetes.

“I just want family members and friends to check on their loved ones, neighbors, coworkers. Check on them,” Fowler said. “If you haven’t spoken with them, check on them in the morning. It’s too hot for individuals to not be in some kind of form of air. Partner up with one another.”

Two of the men were homeless. One man was found in a shed and another died in his car.

Michael Fowler is the Dougherty County Coroner. He says people should check on their friends,...
Michael Fowler is the Dougherty County Coroner. He says people should check on their friends, family and neighbors frequently during heat waves.(WALB)
Video from WALB

“The person that was in the vehicle was living in their vehicle. So with the heat in the vehicle, you know how the temperature rises in the heat,” Fowler said. “Even though they might’ve been in the shade, but still all day long in your vehicle trying to rest and sleep in your vehicle and trying to live in it. It was dangerous, and so I think that contributed to that person’s death also.”

Another was an elderly man who was forced to make a hard decision.

“One of the gentlemen had air conditioning, but he was not cutting it on and was not using it,” Fowler said. “Many times, older people are trying to decide whether do I need to run this air conditioning or have a high bill? And not be able to afford food or medication, so a lot of times they try to decide which one’s most important. I mean it was scorching hot inside that house. Like a heater was on.”

Phillip Jackson is a Paramedic Supervisor with Dougherty County. He says if people can, they shouldn’t limit air conditioning during these hot times.

Phillip Jackson is the Paramedic Supervisor with Dougherty County EMS. He says people should...
Phillip Jackson is the Paramedic Supervisor with Dougherty County EMS. He says people should not skip out on AC to save money if they can avoid it.(WALB)

“Use it. That’s just the bottom line. In this type of heat, you can’t limit that,” Jackson said. “You’ve got to use it. That’s the only way it’s going to protect you. Only way you’re going to be able to stay cool. I can see where you could be sparing with that late in the evenings. But during the middle of the day, you’ve got to use it.”

Fowler says the City of Albany needs something in place so people aren’t choosing between things like medicine and air conditioning.

The city decided Tuesday that it will open up recreation facilities for cooling off.

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