Illinois Emergency Management Agency warns of heat-related hazards

SPRINGFIELD - On average, more people die from heat-related causes each year than any other weather hazard, yet many still don't take heat dangers seriously.  That's why the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and local emergency management agencies will be working to increase awareness of heat safety throughout July, often one of the hottest months in Illinois.

According to National Weather Service statistics, over 3,800 people died from heat-related causes from 1986-2013.  During that same period tornadoes caused 2,016 deaths while floods were responsible for 2,246 fatalities.

One of the most important safety tips when temperatures rise is to never leave pets, children, or disabled adults in parked cars, as dozens of children and countless pets die from hyperthermia when left in parked vehicles.

Temperatures inside a parked vehicle can quickly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets, and even adults.  Cracking the windows slightly does not significantly decrease the heating rate, and the effects can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults.

Parents and caregivers are urged to take actions that will help them remember a child is in the backseat, such as placing a briefcase, cell phone, or other crucial item next to the child.  It's also important to lock your vehicle doors when at home, even if it's parked in a garage, as curious children can climb into an unlocked vehicle and become a victim of heat stroke.

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