Are You Prepared for the Heat Wave?

July 20th, 2011
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Please take a look at the information below from the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) to prepare for this heat wave.  We could use your help to raise awareness, protect our children, and keep an eye out for our elderly family, friends and neighbors.  Thank you!

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Delaware Emergency Management AgencyWith a significant heat wave smothering the region this week, emergency management officials urge the public to constantly monitor the weather situation in their areas and to take precautions for the health and safety of all.

According to the National Weather Service, heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States. Persons of all ages are susceptible to heat-related illness and life-threatening conditions, but infants and small children and elderly persons are often at higher risk.

Actions that help in avoiding heat related health issues include drinking plenty of water, staying out of the sun and remaining in an air-conditioned location whenever possible. Those without air conditioning are encouraged to seek cool locations such as indoor shopping malls, libraries and public buildings that are not restricted.

Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director Jamie Turner said, “Listen to local media for updates on cooling stations or facilities that might open for use by the public. It’s also a good time to look out for others. Be sure to check on elderly relatives and neighbors. Make sure you keep your pets in a cool location with plenty of water available.”

No one, especially children, the elderly and pets, should remain in a parked car during periods of moderate to extreme heat. Even with windows open for ventilation, extremely high temperature develops in a very short period of time. According to the National Weather Service, tests show that with an outside temperature of just 80 degrees, the thermometer in a parked car can rise to a reading of 123 degrees F. in less than an hour. In just over two minutes, the car can go from a safe temperature to 94.3 degree F.

If you must work or spend time outside, take extra precautions. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities for the early morning or late evening hours. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk when working outdoors, it is recommended that frequent rest breaks in a shaded or air conditioned environment are scheduled. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is a life threatening emergency, call 911 for assistance.

Alcoholic beverages should be avoided during exposure to extremely hot weather and caffeinated beverages should be limited.

Special tips on child and car safety during extreme heat:

  • Make sure your child’s safety seat and safety belt buckles aren’t too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system, especially when your car has been parked in the heat.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle in warm weather, even with the windows down.
  • Teach children not to play in, on or around cars.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks–even at home–and keep keys out of children’s reach.
  • Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach your destination. Don’t leave sleeping infants in the car ever!

The impact of the current heat wave will intensify in the region starting Thursday, July 21.  According to the National Weather Service, Friday, July 22 looks like it will be the “hottest” day. Heat index values (a measure of the combination of temperature and humidity) will approach a maximum of 105 degrees on Thursday, and 110 degrees on Friday. The highest values will be experienced in highly urbanized areas. Overnight low temperatures may not drop below 80 in those areas.

There is some uncertainty regarding high temperatures on Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24, as a cold front may approach the region. However, maximum heat index values may again exceed 105 on Saturday and Sunday.

For additional safety and preparedness information visit: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml.

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