Events & News

Heat wave!


At the top of your summer safety list: Do not leave anyone – children (including sleeping children), adults or pets – in a parked car. Be alert to the signs of heat-related illness and know what to do if the need arises.

            They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And many a mother has told her children, “Look past the end of your nose,” meaning to plan ahead. But here we are in the midst of a heat wave forecast by The Weather Channel. So if you haven’t prepared ahead of time for extreme heat, you can use Plan B: “What I can do now.”

            Everyone should recognize the signs of heat-related illness and what to do about it if it happens. Extreme heat is temperatures over 90 degrees F. and that lasts two or three days or longer. Combined with high humidity, there is more moisture in the air and less is evaporating. Your body works harder to try to maintain its normal temperature during these hot, humid periods.

 Anyone can be affected but older adults, children, and persons who are overweight or ill are at greater risk of having a heat-related illness, advises the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ( Those more at risk of heat-related illness are: persons 65 and older, people with chronic medical conditions, outdoor workers, infants and children, low income households and athletes.

            Pets also are at risk. Outdoor pets need shade and fresh water that is in the shade. Even with a window down in a car, a pet should not be left in the vehicle. They will be affected as you would be.

            When under an extreme heat warning:

  • Shelter in an air-conditioned area.
  • Take it easy. No strenuous activities. Those things will wait for another, cooler day.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of heat-related illness. Check on family and neighbors who may be affected by the extreme temperatures.
  • Wear light-weight, light-colored clothing. Dark colors absorb more heat. Cotton is good because it “breathes.”
  • Hydrate. Drink plenty of liquids, replenishing the fluids your body loses through sweating. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. And don’t drink caffeinated beverages or those heavy in sugar. Also, avoid alcohol.

            If your home doesn’t have central air conditioning, install and insulate window units. Cover windows with shades or insulated drapes that hold heat in during the winter months and keep the heat out in the summer months. Window reflectors – aluminum foil covered cardboard – will reflect the heat back outside. Many people take air conditioning for granted. It is so common to control the interior environments of our homes and public buildings. But there are still families who don’t have the luxury and can’t afford it. If you are low income, contact HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) at the Community Action Agency for assistance.

            NEVER leave anyone – human or animal inside a vehicle. The temperature inside the vehicle will rise quickly – 20 degrees in 10 minutes – and quickly become deadly. If you are afraid you might forget the precious cargo in the backseat, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child goes into the car seat, the stuffed animal goes up front with the driver. Be alert.

            Enjoy your Fourth of July week, in spite of the heat. And keep it as safe as you can.

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