Record heat prompts policy changes for transporting children



ATLANTA - A heat wave arrived in metro Atlanta, bringing record high temperatures forecast to continue throughout the weekend.

Temperatures Friday afternoon hit 103 degrees, ecplising the previous record for the day set in 1936.

"Inside the city today we absorbed a tremendous amount of radiation. All this concrete and the roads are absorbing that," said chief meterologist Glenn Burns. "Inside the city tonight its going to be brutally hot. Outside I-285 -- much, much cooler."

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory through Sunday at 8 p.m. for all of metro Atlanta, but excluding the north Georgia mountains.

"We could see a a heat index of 110 degrees plus through much of north Georgia on Saturday and again on Sunday," Burns said. "We're forecasting a high temperature on Saturday afternoon of 105. That's going to tie the all time record high temperature for Atlanta that was previously set in August of 1980."

A Cobb County air conditioning repair company told Channel 2's John Bachman they've received 1,000 calls per day.

"When it's as hot as it is out here today, the pressure will elevate [and] put more of a stress on compressors," said Clay Waller with CoolRay. Waller recommends easing stress on units by keeping the coils clean and changing air filters.

"It's uncomfortable and with the forecast we've watched all week we know triple digit figures this weekend, that's not a good time to have air conditioner out," resident Bert Kelly said.

The heat wave has caused state leaders to push through immediate policy changes to help protect children.

The Georgia Department of Early Care announced Friday increased fines and policy changes regarding the transportation of children in child care centers.

Earlier this week, five-year-old Jerry Boles was accidentally left alone in a hot daycare bus for an hour. A passerby noticed him and called security. Last year, 2-year-old Jasmin Green was left in a hot van and died. The owner of her daycare was indicted this week in her death.

"It is not working. We've had 21 instances over the past year. That is 21 opportunities for a child to die and that will not continue," said Bobby Cagle with DECAL.

State leaders said they recently investigated other similar cases and they’re concerned about the heat.

Childcare providers that leave a child in a hot vehicle could now be subject to pay for an onsite monitor or they could have their ability to transport children restricted and their license revoked. The department could also use its new statutory authority to close a facility on an emergency basis.

Under the new policies, paperwork errors and omissions will be punished with a $499 fine on the first offense.

It is not just children who are at risk, with this weekend’s hot weather, a number of places across metro Atlanta are opening their doors to keep people cool.

The Salvation Army is setting up cooling centers at a number of locations, including the location on Sherrydale Lane in Decatur and in Lawrenceville on Sugarloaf Parkway. They will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Fulton County and the city of Atlanta also opened cooling centers for seniors.

Burns said high temperatures on Sunday would remain above 100, but an increase in humdity could lead to a few thundershowers. Monday's high was forecast at 98 degrees before a slight cool down into the mid 90s on Tuesday and Wednesday.