Message From The Chief – July 2016
We didn't have to wait long for summer heat this year. In fact, we didn't even have to wait for summer! As El Niño dissipated and flood waters receded, June temperatures rose. Although summer didn't officially begin until June 21, much of Texas was experiencing temperatures more typical of July and August well before Father's Day.
As temperatures rise, it is very important to be prepared for the things we tend to do in the extreme heat.
Seniors, infants and children, those taking medications and people with chronic medical conditions are most susceptible to heat stress. People who work outdoors are also at a higher risk. It's always a good idea to monitor how often and how long we're exposed to the heat. Take precautions and limit your risk to the dangerous conditions that can lead to heat stress.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends drinking plenty of water or drinks that replenish sodium and other essential nutrients and minerals. Take plenty of breaks from the heat and avoid alcoholic beverages or drinks high in sugar, carbonation or caffeine.
If you must be outside in the heat, learn to recognize symptoms of heat stress, such as headache, nausea, dizziness and weakness. Learn how you can help someone who is exhibiting signs of heat stress. Schedule your time and activities carefully, wear sunscreen, pace yourself, and wear appropriate clothing. Identify a place where you can cool off and try to have someone with you when out in the heat.
Finally, NEVER leave children, pets, or those unable to effectively exit by themselves in hot vehicles! So far this year, 16 kids nationwide have died needlessly from being left in hot cars, according to babycenter blog. Even at moderate outside temperatures, car interior temperatures can become dangerously hot, and children overheat much faster than adults.
There are many online resources available to learn more about how to prepare for the hot days ahead. Enjoy your summer and take care of yourself outdoors.
Chief W. Nim Kidd, MPA, CEM® TEM®
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