Tips help residents beat the summer heat, stay safe

The Texas Department of Public Safety is warning Texas residents to be prepared for hotter than normal temperatures and to take precautions to stay safe as temperatures and heat indices may hit 100 degrees and above in many parts of the state. Extreme temperatures increase the risk of heat-related injuries or deaths.

“Although hot conditions are expected during Texas summers, we want to remind Texans that high temperatures can be deadly and should not be taken lightly,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “In many cases heat-related deaths and injuries are preventable, and DPS urges residents to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and others against extreme temperatures – whether they plan to be outside or indoors.”

Warmer weather places children at greater risk of injury or death if left unattended in a vehicle. Every year children die from heat-related injuries after being left in a vehicle or by entering a vehicle unnoticed. A child should never be left unattended in a vehicle.

Temperatures inside a car can rise more than 20 degrees in only 10 minutes; and even with an outside temperature of 60 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 110 degrees, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Leaving windows partially rolled down does not help. Young children are particularly at risk since their bodies heat up faster than an adult.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), extreme heat events or heat waves are one of the leading causes of extreme weather-related deaths in the United States. Periods of severe heat and high humidity tax the body’s ability to cool itself and can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal.

DPS offers the following tips for staying safe and managing the heat:

  • Check on the elderly, sick or very young, especially if they don’t have air conditioning.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol during prolonged outdoor exposure. Start consuming water before you head outdoors; you may not realize you’re dehydrated until it’s too late.
  • Pay attention to your body. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can develop quickly. If you start feeling ill, immediately find a shaded or cooler area and slowly drink fluids. Seek medical attention if necessary.
  • Monitor weather radios and newscasts for information on current conditions and weather alerts in your area.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible, and limit exposure to the sun. Consider indoor activities this summer at places like shopping malls, the library or other community facilities.
  • Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and a hat are recommended during outdoor exposure.
  • If possible, avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day.
  • Be extra careful when cooking outdoors, building campfires or driving off road to avoid igniting dry vegetation. Also, stay aware of burn bans in your area and always abide by restrictions on outside burning.
  • Don’t forget animals are also susceptible to heat-related injury or death – don’t put your pets in these dangerous conditions. For more information on pet safety, visit http://goo.gl/xi6A8o.

For additional tips, visit http://dps.texas.gov/dem/Preparedness/tips/hotWeatherSafetyTips.htm.

For more information about heat alerts, heat safety and tips for staying safe, visit http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/.