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Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2015 Vol. 62 No. 7

Message From The Chief

Summer has begun

Officially, summer in the Northern Hemisphere began at 11:39 p.m. CDT on June 21. Unofficially, summer in Texas starts with the July Fourth holiday. For the first time in many years, most of Texas is heading into summer drought free. Many lakes around Texas are either full or at normal levels. So, we’ll be out by the millions, working and playing in the Texas sun.

Heat is the number one weather-related cause of death in the United States, and, in Texas, the heat can be intense. As temperatures rise, it is important to be prepared to safely do everything we do in the extreme heat.

Elderly people, infants and children and people with chronic medical conditions are most prone to heat stress. Other people at risk are those who are obese or suffer from heart disease, as well as those who are taking certain prescription drugs or drinking alcohol. If you or any of your family or friends fall into these categories, it’s a good idea to monitor how often and how long you’re exposed to the heat. It’s also a good idea to take precautions to prevent the dangerous conditions that can lead to heat stress.

Sun

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using common sense and drinking plenty of fluids when it’s hot, especially if you’re active in the outside heat. And fluids mean water or drinks that replenish sodium and other essential nutrients and minerals, not alcoholic beverages or drinks high in sugar, carbonation or caffeine.

If you choose to or must be outside in the heat, take extra precautions. Learn to recognize symptoms of heat stress. Schedule your time and activities carefully. Wear sunscreen. Pace yourself. Wear appropriate clothing. Have a place where you can cool off. And use a buddy system.

Finally, don’t leave kids and pets in hot cars! Since 1998, 95 kids have died needlessly from being left in hot cars in Texas.

There are many online resources available to learn more about how to prepare for the hot days ahead.  Enjoy your summer, but take the time now to learn as much as possible about how to prepare for the excessive heat.

Chief W. Nim Kidd, CEM TEM
Follow @chiefkidd on Twitter

CDC Extreme Heat:  A Prevention Guide
National Weather Service:  Heat
Ready.gov:  Extreme Heat
SafeKids.org


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