How to Stay Safe While The Heat Is On

Heat Safety
Excessive heat can be deadly and has caused more deaths in recent years than any other weather event.

Excessive heat is expected to bake a large part of the Mid-Atlantic and New England states this week with the heat index rising to as high as 101 degrees. The American Red Cross has steps people can follow to stay safe as the temperatures soar.

Excessive heat can be deadly and has caused more deaths in recent years than any other weather event. Weather experts say it will be so hot heat illnesses are possible, especially for people who work or spend extended periods outside.

NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN, PETS IN THE CAR, the inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Other heat safety steps include:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • 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 working 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 animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of shade and cool water.
  • If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should choose places to go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls).
  • HEAT EXHAUSTION Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

    If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes. 

    If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1.

    HEAT STROKE IS LIFE-THREATENING. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

    For more information on what to do when temperatures rise, people can visit redcross.org, download the Red Cross Heat Wave Safety Checklist, or download the free Red Cross First Aid App. The app is available for iPhone and Android smart phone and tablet users in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. People can learn how to treat heat-related and other emergencies by taking First Aid and CPR/AED training online or in person. Go to redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register.

    FLOODING IN TEXAS Parts of Texas could see several inches of rain and flash flooding is possible. If flooding threatens someone’s neighborhood, they should follow these steps to remain safe:

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If someone comes upon a flowing stream where water is above their ankles, they should stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of water can sweep them off their feet.
  • If someone encounters a flooded road while driving, they should turn around and go another way. Do not attempt to drive through the water. If caught on a flooded road, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
  • Be especially cautions at night when it is harder to see flood danger.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • Additional flood safety tips are available on this web site.

    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.

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