Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Heat Wave Safety

Written by: Morgan Terry, volunteer

Residents of DC, Maryland and Virginia have seen a spike in summer temperatures over the past few years from one of the greatest global problems, climate change. Heat related illnesses are extremely threatening:

  • According to the Maryland Department of Health, heat related illnesses were responsible for over 70 deaths from 1999 to 2010
  • In the summer of June 2016, the Baltimore City Health department issued a Code Red Heat Advisory for the city, as temperatures rose to 109 degrees, the highest recorded temperature the state of Maryland had ever seen
Nevertheless, disasters can be avoided with the proper precautions. That is why the American Red Cross is urging all residents to recognize the symptoms of heat related illnesses, like heat exhaustion, and offering ways to prepare for high temperatures.
STAYING INDOORS: Staying out of the sun and in a cool, shady area is the best thing to do during extremely high heat conditions. Be aware of when heat waves are approaching by listening to the news and plan to remain in an air-conditioned location until it’s safe to go back outside. If your house does not have a functioning air conditioning system, make plans to go to a place that you know does, like a mall or church, ahead of time. Indoors is the best place to be – even pools and waterparks are dangerous places to be in high heat.
IF YOU MUST BE OUTDOORS: Keep your time spent outdoors as brief as possible. Wear loose, light-colored clothing and a hat to shield your eyes and face from the sun. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water. Employ the buddy system by avoiding going anywhere on your own and limit your exertion of energy as much as possible (i.e. no sports, outdoor games, strenuous manual labor, etc.)
KEEPING OTHERS SAFE: Do not, for any reason, leave children or pets in the car – not even for less than moment. Check on your neighbors and pets frequently, as animals cannot vocalize when they are becoming heat-stricken or dehydrated. Recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses such as dizziness, moist and flushed skin, nausea, headache, weakness and exhaustion. Heat-related illnesses get progressively worse in a short amount of time if they are unrecognized and untreated.
First Aid and Pet First Aid are two helpful apps to help you and your pets stay safe during heat waves. 

Visit www.redcross.org for more safety information.

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