Major Heat Wave Makes Precautions Critical
Contact: Rick Shanklin, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NWS Paducah 270.559.2724
Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in 350 fatalities each year. In fact, on average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined.
“It is critical to heed the recommended safety precautions during this major heat wave” said Rick Shanklin, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Paducah. “This is one of the worst heat waves to impact our region in the last century”.
Given the track record of this "Silent Killer" combined with the ongoing heat wave, the following safety tips are provided.
Child Safety Tips
· Make sure your child's safety seat and safety belt buckles aren't too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system, especially when your car has been parked in the heat.
· Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down.
· Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.
· Always lock car doors and trunks--even at home--and keep keys out of children's reach.
· Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach your destination. Don't leave sleeping infants in the car ever!
Adult Safety Tips:
· Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
· Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
· Eat for the Heat. Avoid foods like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production and also increase water loss.
· Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.
· Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limit caffeinated beverages.
· Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day.
· Don't get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body's ability to dissipate heat.
· Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.
· Serve as a "Cooling Station". This is a practice whereby a location such as a community center, church, or even an individual home owner opens their doors to those in their neighborhood. Some churches "adopt a neighborhood".
· Check on the Elderly and those with Health Issues. This should be done on a regular basis throughout the heat wave.
· Keep pets indoors or provide them with shade and plenty of cool water.
· Provide Heat Safety Tips. These tips can be reproduced and provided via handouts or other display at churches, community centers, libraries etc.
For the latest forecasts and heat related products see http://www.weather.gov/pah