*EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH IN EFFECT THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING FOR WESTERN OREGON VALLEYS EAST OF THE COAST RANGE. TEMPERATURES MAY EXCEED 100 DEGREES. RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES TO COOLER TIMES OF DAY. DRINK LOTS OF WATER. WEAR LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY. CALL 911.*
Douglas County Fire District No.2 firefighters would like to warn the public about the summer heat weave expected by the end of this week, and encourage every one to protect themselves from the excessive heat!
Heat and the Human Body
· Heat can kill by pushing the human body beyond its limits. Under normal conditions, the body’s internal thermostat produces perspiration that evaporates and cools the body. However, in excessive heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.
· The effects of heat can quickly overcome the healthiest people, especially if they perform strenuous work during the warmest parts of the day. Symptoms of dehydration and heat illness may not be easily recognized.
· Elderly people, the disabled, young children, those who are sick, live alone or are overweight are more likely to become victims of excessive heat.
· Because men sweat more than women do, they become more quickly dehydrated and are more susceptible to heat illness. Those under a Doctor’s care or taking medication should speak with their Physician about their particular vulnerability.
Heat and Animals
· Pets, horses, and livestock are also susceptible to difficulties from hot weather. Animals do not perspire and rely on panting, wetting down, shade, cool earth, and drinking water for cooling. Animals cannot explain their needs, so it is up to people to see that their needs are readily met, especially during periods of extreme or prolonged heat.
Dealing with Excessive Heat
· You should learn the risks of excessive heat, prepare the members of your household, pets and your workplace for it, and plan to get relief from and avoid its effects.
· During times of excessive heat, assess your daily activities and discuss heat safety precautions with family, neighbors and co-workers.
· If your home does not have air conditioning, choose a cool place to visit or stay during the hottest part of the day. Schools, libraries, theaters, and other community facilities can often provide an air-conditioned refuge.
· You should plan in advance to wear lightweight, light-colored clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible as well as, a well-ventilated hat with a wide brim. Light colors will reflect away the sun’s rays. Stay in the shade as much as possible and remain well hydrated.
· Never leave children or any infirm person or pet alone in a vehicle for even a brief moment. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit within minutes. Exposure to such high temperatures can quickly kill a person or pet. Even on days that feel pleasantly warm outside, temperatures in a parked vehicle can raise high enough to kill. Leaving a window open will not necessarily abate the danger.
· If you discover a child or incapacitated person locked inside a car on a hot day, call 9-1-1 immediately!
· Slow down and avoid strenuous activity. Reduce, eliminate, or reschedule physical activities for a cooler part of the day. High- risk individuals should stay in cool places, and everyone should get plenty of rest to allow the body’s natural “cooling system” to work.
· Hot days also mean sunny days, and regardless of your skin tone, it’s a good idea to stay protected by applying sun block early and often.
· If you must perform strenuous activity, do so during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the early morning. Many heat emergencies occur to people who are exercising, working or staying alone. We suggest you use a buddy system, and also check regularly on elderly, disabled or at-risk neighbors.
· Experts also suggest that you eat smaller meals more often, and drink plenty of fluids even before you feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine. They make the heat’s effects on your body worse.
· Keep a close eye on local weather trends, including the fire weather.
· Make sure that those in your home, neighborhood and workplace are safe until cooler weather prevails.
For more information about heat weave dangers safety and other fire safety and injury prevention topics contact Douglas County Fire District No.2 Fire Prevention Bureau at 541-673-5503 or visit www.dcfd.org