FDEM Urges Residents to Practice Heat Safety

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Today, The Florida Division of Emergency Management (Division) urged all Florida residents and visitors to practice heat safety, as dangerously hot and humid conditions continue statewide. Heat index values will climb into the triple digits, causing much of the state to be under heat advisories and at a greater risk for heat related illnesses.

“With the heat index value reaching an upwards of 110 degrees in some areas, it’s important to take breaks from the heat and drink plenty of water” said Division Executive Director Kevin Guthrie. “I urge all Floridians to practice heat safety and remember it is never safe to leave children or pets alone in a parked car.”

The heat index is the “apparent temperature or feels like temperature” that describes the combined effect of high air temperature and high humidity. The higher this combination, the more difficult it is for the body to cool itself. With prolonged exposure to extreme heat your body is more at risk for experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Know the Signs of Heat Related Illnesses:

• Heat Exhaustion – Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, thirst, heavy sweating and weakness. If you experience any of these symptoms, act quickly and move to a cooler area. You should loosen your clothing and sip cool water slowly. Seek medical attention if symptoms do not improve. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.

• Heat Stroke – Signs of heat stroke include confusion, hot and dry skin with no sweat, a rapid, strong pulse and loss of consciousness. If you or a family member experience any of these symptoms call 911 immediately and move the person to a cooler area. Loosen clothing, remove extra layers and cool down with water or ice. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not received.

Heat Safety Tips

• Never leave children, vulnerable adults, or pets in a parked car – The temperature in a parked car can raise to 135 degrees Fahrenheit in less than ten minutes, which can cause death to children, vulnerable adults, or pets. If you see a child, vulnerable adult or pet left unattended in a parked vehicle on a hot day, call 9-1-1 immediately. If the person or pet is in imminent danger of suffering harm, you may use necessary force to remove the person or pet from the vehicle.

• Limit time outside – Avoid being outdoors during the midday heat and spend more time inside the air conditioning when possible.

• Utilize public spaces – Take advantage of public spaces with air conditioning such as a local library to help stay cool.

• Dress for summer – Wear loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing that reflects heat and sunlight and helps maintain your normal body temperature.

• Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water even if you do not feel thirsty.

• Don’t get too much sun – Apply sunscreen if you are going to be in the sun for extended periods of time.

Having a sunburn makes heat dissipation more difficult.

For more heat safety tips, visit FloridaDisaster.org/Hazards/Heat-Wave.

For weather updates and safety tips, follow the Division on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @FLSERT.

By Kim Hunt

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