Recently, most of the United States, has witnessed record-breaking high temperatures. Blanketed in extreme heat, temperatures registered in the nineties or higher, and in some places, 110 or above. The West has wildfires in practically every state. Humidity in the South, combined with high temperatures, increases the heat index and makes breathing difficult.
Some meteorologists stated that this summer already has broken several records that were set last year. It is not wise to lay blame on those who claim this is a natural pattern or those who claim this is a fabricated event called ‘global warming’. The fact remains our world is getting warmer; as reported by NOAA, the “U.S. saw 2nd warmest year to date on record and warmer-than-average June”
Why is it not wise to lay blame? The damage is done! If the cat knocks over a glass of milk, the glass is empty, so yes, the cat catches the blame (for whatever good it does). None-the-less, the event happened. Someone, other than the culprit, must clean up the spilled milk. In our case, whether you believe in climate change or not, you must, at minimum, adjust to the extreme heat. No amount of pointing fingers is going to cool you down.
In keeping with Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, it is better to advise people how to be prepared or how to cope with these types of events, rather than worrying about how it all started. Quoted from The National Weather Service, “Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses.”
There are three heat related conditions.
The following definitions are from the Mayo Clinic.
- Heat Rash [is] “also known as prickly heat and miliaria. Heat rash isn’t just for babies [it] affects adults, too, especially during hot, humid weather.” Heat rash develops when blocked pores (sweat ducts) trap perspiration under your skin. Symptoms range from superficial blisters to deep, red lumps.
- Heat Exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include cramps, dizziness, headache heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. Heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition.
- Heat Stroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher. Heatstroke requires emergency treatment.
What To Do During a Heat Wave
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
- Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Eat small meals and eat more often.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
- Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
- Postpone outdoor games and activities.
- Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
- Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
- Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
In addition to these recommendations, consider the following:
For the car, truck, RV or bike:
- Carry extra water in your vehicle, even hot water is better than no water. Think of it as a hot unflavored drink.
- Make sure either your cell phone is charged, or you have the ability to charge it.
- Have an emergency auto kit in the vehicle.
- Have a form of shade, other than the vehicle, such as a tent, tarp (with stakes and rope), an umbrella.
For the home:
- Wear a hat when outside
- Leave a bowl of fresh water when your pet is outside (ice will keep it cool longer, but your pet may not drink it until the ice is melted).
- Check on your pets regularly, even though they have a coat, they can still get sunburned, or have heat related symptoms.
- Provide shade such as an Easy-Up.
- Replace the Air Conditioner Filter for the HVAC unit or clean the air filter on the window units.
- Close the vents in the rooms that are not used and close the doors to that area. This redirects the airflow to the occupied areas of the home.
- Move furniture away from the vents for better air circulation.
- Check with your superior and have an emergency kit ready to go in case of a heat emergency
- Carry extra water, you lose precious water because of sweat.
- Keep aware of others that may have heat related symptoms, give them water and a cool damp cloth (for around their neck), if possible bring them inside or in the shade. Call emergency services when necessary.
Be Safe, Be Kind and Be Prepared,