Part 1 in a Series
Extreme weather causes some of the most devastating natural disasters known to man and beast. Already this year, the United States has faced six weather and climate-related major disaster events, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports have resulted in 36 deaths and economic losses exceeding one billion dollars. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) breaks these disasters into eight major categories: extreme heat, floods, hurricanes, landslides and mudslides, lightning, tornadoes, tsunamis, and winter weather. I’m not sure why cats aren’t included on the list, since they’re the number one cause of disasters in my world. This week, we will discuss extreme heat. Check back for future posts, which will conclude our series about extreme weather-related disasters.
Steps to prepare for and recover from severe heat:
Defined as summertime temperatures which are much hotter and/or more humid than average, the definition of extreme heat varies based on location. More than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year. I’m sure many canines were affected, as well. Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, occur when the body is unable to properly cool itself. While the human body normally cools itself by sweating, during extreme heat, this bodily function may be insufficient. In such a case, a person’s body temperature rises faster than its ability to cool down. A serious situation, this can lead to brain and other vital organ damage.The good news is that heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable.
At Higher Risk in Extreme Heat:
- Outdoor workers
- Infants and children
- People with medical conditions or have any type of illnesses
- Those who have sunburn or are under the influence of alcohol
- Dogs left in hot cars. We have built-in coats!
Eliminate your risk of extreme-heat related illness:
- Stay Cool
Wear weather-appropriate clothing. Stay indoors in air-conditioned areas, as often as possible. Carefully consider whether outdoor activities are wise. Pace yourself. Wear sunscreen. Never leave children or pets in cars. Avoid hot and heavy meals, which increase body temperature. Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim.
- Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty, which is your body’s signal dehydration has already begun. Stay away from very sweet and alcoholic drinks, which can cause you to lose more body fluid. Replace salt and minerals. Keep pets hydrated!
- Stay Informed
Keep up with news regarding extreme heat alerts. Find out where you can go to cool off, such as local public cooling centers, if you don’t have A/C. Recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. Monitor people who are at risk, such as the elderly, overweight and people who overexert during exercise.
View these additional Allied Universal tips on heat safety.
Download the free OSHA Heat Safety Tool app*, to stay abreast of climate changes and make appropriate adjustments.
*Available in the Apple Store and Google Play.
Finally, check back again, when upcoming blog posts will cover other extreme-weather related issues, including floods, hurricanes, landslides and mudslides, lightning, tornadoes and tsunamis.
About the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Services System
In the dog days of summer, take steps to make sure you are safe. Our interactive, building-specific e-learning program helps commercial, residential, educational, institutional, government, retail and industrial buildings with compliance to fire life safety codes and rewards building occupants instantly! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to the training needs of your facility. Click here for more information or to subscribe.