Great Falls, Mont., July 7, 2017 – With a significant heat wave forecast for the region, a few precautions are in order. The Red Cross has some basic tips to help you and your family prepare.
“Excessive heat can be dangerous causing illness and even death but it is preventable,” says Ted Koenig, Disaster Program Manager for Montana Red Cross. “According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year.” American Red Cross urges everyone to take precautions.”
A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, generally 10 degrees or more above average, often combined with excessive humidity. When a heat wave is forecast, here’s what you can do to prepare:
•Listen to local weather forecasts so you know about upcoming temperature changes.
•Keep an eye on the heat index. The heat index is the temperature the body feels when the effects of heat and humidity are combined. Exposure to direct sunlight can increase the index by 15° F.
•Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household. Have a plan for wherever you spend time— home, work and school—and prepare for the possibility of power outages.
•Check the contents of your emergency disaster kit.
•Know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young, sick or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need your help.
•If you do not have air conditioning, choose places you could go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls).
•Get trained in First Aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.
•Make sure your animals have water and shade.
When a heat wave is upon you, it is important to respond appropriately in order to be safe. A few simple adjustments can prevent serious heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
•Listen to a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
•Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
•Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
•Eat small meals and eat more often.
•Avoid extreme temperature changes.
•Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
•Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
•Postpone outdoor games and activities.
•Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors and use the buddy system.
•Check on family, friends and neighbors.
•Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are okay. Make sure to provide plentiful water and shade.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious conditions that require immediate attention. To know what to do to help someone who is suffering from either ailment, download the free Red Cross First Aid App now at www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/first-aid-app and click on Heat Stroke. Do it today—it could help you save a life. For more information on how to cope with extreme weather conditions like heat waves, go to redcross.org/montana.
To support the work of the American Red Cross, please visit www.redcross.org/montana, call 1-800-ARC-MONT (1-800-272-6668) or mail your donation to the American Red Cross of Montana, 1300 28th Street South, Great Falls, Mont. 59405. Every donation helps the Red Cross help others, at home and around the world.
Red Cross Urges Caution
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