FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) –Triple-digit temperatures are forecasted for the Labor Day weekend, and health officials are reminding people to protect themselves against heat-related illnesses.

“It’s brutal outside, absolutely brutal,” that’s how Larry McKinley describes Friday’s 108-degree forecast. 

“I’m 68 years old, partially handicapped and this is a godsend,” he says, referring to the cooling center at the Ted C. Wills Community Center in the Tower District where he’s enjoying the AC. 

This is one of the cooling centers available when the National Weather Service forecasts a high of 105 degrees or hotter.

“It’s safe, you can relax and have a good time,” McKinley says. 

“The City of Fresno, the City of Clovis both are offering free transit to all of their cooing centers,” said Teri Mejorado, manager at the Office of Emergency Services. “The City of Fresno also has splash pads at some of the playgrounds for the kids.”

Health officials are expecting an influx of heat-related emergency calls over the long weekend. 

“We’re asking people to make sure they’re staying in a cool area as much as possible, drinking lots of water, trying to avoid the caffeinated drinks, alcohol,” said EMS Director Dan Lynch. 

Lynch says since May, more than half of their calls were heat-related incidents. And even though August was a hotter month, there was an uptick in July. 

“When we do have a major holiday like July 4th, there is a higher spike,” said Lynch. 

The Health Department says ignoring the signs of heat exhaustion could go south really quickly, with symptoms including “muscle breakdown, cardiac arrhythmia and even just a full body shutdown known as heat stroke,” explained Dr. Rais Vohra with Fresno County Public Health. 

Since many families will be looking to cool off over the next few days, experts are also issuing a warning about canals.

“A lot of people think the water looks cool, but I tell you people jump into a canal and get into trouble real quick because they don’t realize how quickly that water is moving,” said Lynch. “Plus, they don’t realize what’s underneath that surface.”

For a list of local cooling centers, visit: https://www.fresno.gov/parks/cooling-centers/