With summer approaching, Riverside County is preparing to open its cool centers to residents looking to beat the heat, with a kickoff event slated next week in Palm Desert.

The county’s 56 cool centers will officially open on June 1, and remain open for residents at no cost through Oct. 15, as temperatures warrant. County officials open the centers annually to help locals avoid the excessive heat, which officials said is particularly damaging for seniors and those with medical conditions.

“The cool centers have the potential to be a life-saving option for our residents,” Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez said. “People do not have to suffer and risk the dangers of extreme heat.”

The kick-off event is scheduled for May 31, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Palm Desert Aquatic Center. The free event will include refreshments, information booths, free swimming and water safety resources.

“We are so happy to be able to provide our residents alternative places to cool off and get away from the extreme heat and high temperatures. The cool centers allow us to help our residents remain safe, cool and healthy in the summer months,” said Brenda Salas Freeman, executive director of the Community Action Partnership of Riverside County.

A list of cooling center locations can be found at www.capriverside.org.

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