Fire Department paramedics are urging residents to practice heat safety wherever they are as temperatures continue to soar in the high 90s, with heat indexes in the 100s.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), heat is typically the leading cause of weather-related fatalities each year because of dehydration or overheating.
Heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable, so firefighters are offering tips to help people stay safe during the heat wave.
Firefighter/paramedics say the best thing to do is to avoid being outside for prolonged periods of time during extreme heat, but if that isn’t possible, there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exposure to elevated temperatures; taking frequent breaks to avoid overexertion; wearing "breathable" clothing and just listening to your body can help prevent a heat-related emergency. Thirst is an easy way to spot the early onset of dehydration, so if you drink fluids the moment you feel thirsty, you can help avoid a major heat issue such as severe dehydration, heat cramps or heat stroke.
Paramedics suggests using the tips below to practice heat safety in the following locations:
- Job Sites - Summer weather poses unique hazards for outdoor workers, who are at a higher risk for heat-related emergencies. When working outside under hot conditions, stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade as often as possible. Knowing symptoms, prevention and emergency response methods can help prevent heat-related illnesses and death.
- Vehicles - Never leave children, disabled adults or pets in parked vehicles. Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults. Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate. Always LOOK before you LOCK.
- Outdoors - Limit strenuous activities, find shade and stay hydrated. Apply sunscreen liberally and wear lightweight, loose fitting, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight. Hats are also a good idea to protect your face and scalp from harmful UV rays if you will be spending time directly in the sunshine.
- Indoors – Check on neighbors who are elderly or sick, or who don’t have air conditioning.
According paramedics, approximately 175 Americans die from extreme heat each year.