Money Watchers: Does anyone actually use cooling centers?

For the second straight day Tuesday, Rhode Island was under an air quality alert.

State emergency officials were urging residents to make use of cooling centers to stay safe in the heat.

But are they being utilized?

"We hear back from municipalities that yes people do go there," said Annemarie Beardsworth, spokeswoman for the state Emergency Management Agency.

Libraries, senior centers and visitor centers throughout the state are the sites where residents can take a break from the heat.

A cooling center in Cranston was especially busy on Monday.

"We were really busy Monday in the early to late-afternoon hours," said Cranston Library Director Edward Garcia.

In general, it doesn't cost any of the organizations extra to operate as a cooling center.

"Our regular operating hours are Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. then Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.," Garcia said.

Visitors said help is good.

"I think it's wonderful especially for the elderly people who don't have fans or anything like that and they can pick up book while they are here," one woman said.

There are more than 20 cooling centers in the state and are operated on an individual basis by each municipality.