IEMA Offers Heat Safety Tips

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SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies encourage residents to exercise caution and follow their safety tips when temperatures rise.

IEMA Director James J. Joseph explains that while warm weather may be nice after a long winter, residents should not overlook health hazards caused by higher temperatures.

“Summertime comes with its own hazards, many related to excessive heat. We want to help people avoid these risk and enjoy a fun, safe summer,” Joseph says.

Joseph advises residents to never leave children, elderly people, disable adults or pets in parked cars, even for a short time. Temperatures inside a parked vehicles rise rapidly even if windows are left slightly open. Individuals left inside vehicles on a hot day can develop brain damage or die in some cases. These effects are more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults.

National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist Chris Miller says a July 1995 heat wave led to the deaths of more than 1,000 Midwestern people. Heat and humidity can be a deadly combination in the summer.

“Hot and humid conditions put a lot of stress on the human body and can lead to serious health conditions such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke or even death,” Miller explains.

Other hot weather tips include:

  • Always lock car doors and trunks, even at home, and keep keys out of children’s reach.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking at least 1 ½ to 2 quarters of fluids daily, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and drinks containing caffeine.
  • Avoid overexertion and strenuous outdoor activities if possible.
  • Take advantage of cooling centers, public pools and air-conditioned stores and malls during periods of extreme heat. Even a few hours a day in air conditioning can help prevent heat-related illnesses.
  • Don’t forget your pets. Offer pets extra water and place the water bowl in a shaded area if outdoors. Make sure pets have a shady refuge where they can escape direct sun exposure.
  • If you or someone around you begins experiencing dizziness, nausea, headache, confusion and a rapid pulse, seek medical attention immediately, as these could be the symptoms of a heat stroke.

Additional tips on protecting against heat-related illnesses are available on the state’s Ready Illinois website here.

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