MIAMI VALLEY — Heat-related incidents and illness are preventable, yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat. Extreme heat, in fact, kills more people each year than hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and lightning combined.
“People don’t often think about the dangers of extreme heat, but it can be very dangerous and even deadly,” says Lynne Gump, Executive Director of the Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross. “The Red Cross emphasizes the importance of being prepared for many types of emergencies — tornadoes, home fires, floods — and the kind of heat that we’re expecting this weekend is no different. You should know what to do before and during a heat emergency. It can literally mean the difference between life and death.”
Because heat-related deaths are preventable, people need to be aware of who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. Here are a few tips on how to beat the heat and stay safe:
• If you don’t have to be outside in the heat, then don’t go outside. Stay inside. Your neighbors will forgive you if you don’t cut your grass when it’s this hot.
• If you don’t have air conditioning, visit places that do — malls, libraries, bookstores, movie theaters. Make a day of it.
• If you have to work outside, slow down and rest frequently. No one is going to get mad at you for not going fast enough in this heat.
• Wear light, loose-fitting clothing. Tight-fitting clothing holds the heat in and doesn’t allow it to escape.
• Drink a lot of water, even if you’re not thirsty. It’s easy to get dehydrated without noticing when it gets this hot.
• Check in on your neighbors, especially if they’re older, disabled or don’t have access to air conditioning.
• Don’t forget your pets. If they’re outdoor pets, bring them indoors where it’s cooler for the weekend. If not, check on them frequently and make sure they have plenty of water and a shady place to rest.
• Be prepared for power outages. This kind of heat often stresses the power grid and leads to outages. If you don’t have an emergency disaster kit, now is a good time to put one together. Be prepared to survive three days without electricity. Here are 30 items you should have ready to go in the event of a disaster.
The Red Cross also offers two apps to provide information about heat safety. The Red Cross Emergency App provides information on 17 different types of emergencies, including what to do before and during heat emergencies. It also lists symptoms of heat-related illnesses and what to do if someone has them. The Red Cross Pet first Aid App has tips for pet owners on how to keep animals safe in extreme conditions. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact the Red Cross office, website or Facebook page.