Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hot Weather Safety Tips

Here's a June 16, 2008 news release from the El Paso Fire Department:

"With temperatures in the City of El Paso expected to be in the triple digits for
this week, El Paso Fire Department Officials are urging the public to take the
following safety precautions when conducting outdoor activities to avoid
becoming a victim of a heat emergency.

Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light colored clothing, Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella. Drink plenty of water. Carry water with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body. Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein which increase
metabolic heat. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician. Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity take plenty of breaks in a shaded area or do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Stay indoors when possible.

The public is also asked to continue supporting the El Paso Fire Departments and the Extreme Weather Task Force Fan Drive. People can donate and drop off new fans at any fire station in the city. The donated fans are given to the elderly, disabled, and needy families throughout the El Paso area. Anyone needing a fan or if they know of someone who needs a fan can call 211 or 533-0998. Extreme Weather Task Force members are also asking the public to practice the Buddy system. A Buddy can be a relative, friend, or neighbor who checks up on an elderly or disabled person on a daily basis.

High-risk Groups Identified
Besides the low income and the elderly, other groups of people have been identified at high risk for heat-related illnesses. These groups include:
(1) Infants under one
year of age in homes without air conditioning.
(2) The ill and disabled.
(3) Persons taking certain prescription medications, such as diuretics, sedatives, and

Heat Emergencies
There are three types of heat emergencies you may be required to treat.

 Heat Stroke

This is the most serious type of heat emergency. It is LIFE-THREATENING and requires IMMEDIATE and AGGRESSIVE treatment!
Heat stroke occurs when the body's heat regulating mechanism fails. The body temperature rises so high that brain damage and death may result unless the body is cooled quickly.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS:The victim's skin is HOT, RED and usually DRY. Pupils are very small. The body temperature is VERY HIGH, sometimes as high as 105 degrees.
FIRST AID:Remember, Heat Stroke is a life-threatening emergency and requires prompt action! Summon professional help. Get the victim into a cool place.
COOL THE VICTIM AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE IN ANY MANNER POSSIBLE! Place the victim into a bathtub of cool water, wrap in wet sheets, and place in an air-conditioned room. Do not give victim anything by mouth. Treat for shock.

 Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is less dangerous than heat stroke. It is caused by fluid loss, which in turn causes blood flow to decrease in vital organs, resulting in a form of shock.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:COOL, PALE AND MOIST skin, heavy sweating, dilated pupils (wide), headache, nausea, dizziness and vomiting. Body temperature will be near normal.
FIRST AID:Get the victim out of the heat and into a cool place. Place in the shock position, lying on the back with feet raised. Remove or loosen clothing. Cool by fanning or applying cold packs or wet towels or sheets. If conscious, give water to drink every 15 minutes.

 Heat

CrampsHeat cramps are muscular pain and spasms due to heavy exertion. They
usually involve the abdominal muscles or legs. It is generally thought this condition is caused by loss of water and salt through sweating.
FIRST AID:Get victim to a cool place. If they can tolerate it, give one-half glass of
water every 15 minutes. Heat cramps can usually be avoided by increasing fluid
intake when active in hot weather. "

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