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Columbia Fire Department (South Carolina)
Wednesday June 23rd, 2010 :: 09:45 a.m. EDT


Columbia Fire Department

Date: June 21, 2010
Contact Person: Michael Thomas - Public Fire Education Officer, 545-3701

Summer Heat Safety
Seniors, babies and those with mental and chronic illness are most at risk!

Anyone can be affected by the heat of the summer sun. The centers of disease control and prevention notes that excessive heat exposure, “Caused 8,015 deaths in the United States” from 1979-2003. That’s more deaths due to heat exposure than from all the major natural disasters combined, including hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes.

Heat Safety Tips:
• During the hottest hours of the day, stay inside. If possible stay inside an air-conditioned building.
• During the hottest summer months the CDC recommends visiting elderly family or friends twice a day.
• Get to know the neighbors – isolated elderly adults are at a much higher risk of heat related health problems and death.
• Supervise children – children rely on adults to tell them when to come inside, when to drink water, and what sort of clothing to wear. It doesn’t take long for a child’s small body to become overheated.
• Dress lightly and when sleeping uses lightweight breathable covers.
• Drink plenty of water.
• People who live in homes with no air conditioning should keep blinds closed from morning until the late afternoon to block extra direct heat from sunlight. Also, stay on the lowest level of your home.
• Never ever leave a child or pet in the car while you run to do a quick errand.
• If you see any of the exhaustion signs listed below get out of the heat immediately. Give the person plenty of cool fluids and wipe them down with cool cloths. If they don’t improve rapidly call 911.

The signs of heat exhaustion include:
• Clammy skin
• Loss of color in skin
• Sweating
• A tired, overestimated look on someone’s face
• Dry mouth
• Headache

The signs of major heat stroke:
• High body temperatures – (over 103 degrees F)
• Confusion
• Poor breathing – if you can’t hear a person breathing it can indicate a problem
• Seizures
• The person has stopped sweating
• Weak pulse
• Hot dry skin to the touch
• Fainting or total loss of consciousness

Heat injuries are dangerous and can be life threatening. If you are working or playing out side take breaks and drink plenty of water. Also, remember to check on elderly neighbors in your community.

Columbia Fire Department (South Carolina)
1800 Laurel St
Columbia, SC 29201

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 803-545-3700

Michael Thomas
Fire Prevention

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