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Red Cross Offers Tips to Stay Safe When Temperatures Soar

Heat Safety
“High temperatures, humidity and hot, indoor environments can quickly cause heat-related emergencies”

PORTLAND, Ore., June 24, 2015 — Dangerously hot weather is predicted for Oregon and Southwest Washington over the next few days, and the American Red Cross reminds everyone of the steps they may take to stay safe when the temperatures rise. Stay informed and listen to NOAA Weather Radio for updates from the National Weather Service.

“High temperatures, humidity and hot, indoor environments can quickly cause heat-related emergencies,” said Troy Jenkins, Red Cross Health & Safety training manager. “Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

The Red Cross has some simple steps to help beat the heat:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. The temperature inside can reach a dangerous level within a few minutes.
  • Drink more water than usual – even if you’re not thirsty.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Avoid working outdoors; if you must do so, take frequent breaks and use the buddy system.
  • 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.
  • If possible, bring animals inside. If not, frequently check to ensure they are comfortable and have water and a shady place to rest.
  • Community cooling centers are available in Portland metropolitan area. Check with your local county office to locate centers near you.
  • This weekend temperatures are expected to reach record highs, possibly in the triple digits. And with the increased heat, more and more people will take up swimming to cool themselves off.

    “Many people will flock to local lakes, rivers, pools, and the coast,” says Brian Hoffmeister, American Red Cross aquatic specialist. “This year Oregon has already experienced a record number of drownings. There are ways to stay safe.”

    Helpful tips before rushing to pool parties or rivers and lakes this weekend:

  • The water is cold. Cold water can easily lead to hypothermia and put even strong swimmers in a dangerous situation.
  • Be careful around moving water which may be much faster and stronger than it appears. This can swiftly push you downstream or exhaust strong swimmers. Be honest with yourself about your swimming abilities.
  • Look before you leap! Don’t blindly jump into unfamiliar water. Underwater obstacles can cause significant injury or death. Always jump feet first especially this year with severely low water levels.
  • Never swim alone. Always swim with others, preferably in a supervised or lifeguarded area.
  • Wear a lifejacket. They are simple to use and can prevent most drowning events. Make sure jackets are properly fitted and contain a U.S. Coast Guard Approved label.
  • Know how to respond to a water emergency. Swimmers in distress need help immediately; reach or throw, don’t go. Call 9-1-1.
  • Additional resources for heat waves, and swimming safely in lakes, rivers and streams are available from the American Red Cross.

    The free Red Cross Emergency App provides instant access to expert heat safety tips. Users also have the option of receiving alerts for excessive heat watches, warnings and heat advisories. The Red Cross Pet First Aid App has steps pet owners should take to help keep their furry friends safe during hot weather. People can find the apps in their app store by searching for American Red Cross and at redcross.org/apps.

    People can learn how to prevent and respond to heat-related and other emergencies by taking a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED or Advance Child Care Training course. A variety of online and in-class options are available. Course and registration information is available at redcross.org/takeaclass.

    About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.