Red Cross Issues Tips to Stay Safe this Summer as Temperatures Rise

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Summer is here, bringing with it dangerous excessive heat. The American Red Cross has steps people can follow to stay safe as the temperatures soar.

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Temperature can rise quickly as high as 19 degrees within 10 minutes.*

NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN, PETS IN THE CAR, the inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Other heat safety steps include:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.

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    Within 20 minutes, the temperature reaches to an unbearable 109 degrees.* (*Graphic Courtesy of General Motors and Golden Gate Weather Services)

  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affectedby the heat.
  • Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.
  • If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should choose places to go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls).

HEAT EXHAUSTION Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.

If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

HEAT STROKE IS LIFE-THREATENING. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

For more information on what to do when temperatures rise, people can visit redcross.org, download the Red Cross Heat Wave Safety Checklist, or download the free Red Cross First Aid. The app is available for iPhone and Android smart phone and tablet users in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. People can learn how to treat heat-related and other emergencies by taking First Aid and CPR/AED training online or in person. Go to redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register.

Year of Death # Fatalities
2000 1
2002 8
2003 9
2004 4
2005 12
2006 10
2007 5
2008 1
2009 8
2010 9
2011 5
2012 24

(From Wisconsin Department of Health Services)

Note: Numbers in table are totals of directly and indirectly-related heat fatalities. If heat was the primary cause of death it is a directly related heat death. If heat was a secondary or contributing cause of death it is an indirectly related heat death.

Red Cross Offers Tips for a Safe 4th of July

Whether at the beach or in one’s backyard, follow these steps to enjoy the holiday.

The Independence Day Holiday is just around the corner and many people will visit the beach, enjoy fireworks, or fire up the grill for a backyard barbecue.

“The American Red Cross wants everyone to have a happy — and safe — Fourth of July holiday, and taking a few simple steps to stay safe can help ensure that this will be an enjoyable holiday for all,” said Steve Hansen, Chapter Executive

WATER SAFETY If swimming is part of someone’s holiday plans, they should check the weather and swim only at a lifeguard-protected pool or beach within the designated swimming area and obey all safety rules. Avoid alcohol before and during any water activities and make sure to never swim alone.

Other tips to keep in mind:

  • Actively supervise children at all times – even if a lifeguard is present. Stay within arm’s reach of young children when they are in the water.
  • Have weak swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Don’t rely on water wings or inflatable toys.
  • Always enter shallow water feet first. Dive only in areas marked safe for diving. 

Additional water safety tips are located at redcross.org/watersafetytips.

WATCH THE SUN Everyone should limit the amount of direct sunlight they receive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 throughout the day. Wear sunglasses that will absorb UV sunlight to protect one’s eyes. And remember to protect one’s feet by wearing some kind of beach shoes.

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. Wear loose-fitting clothing, lightweight and light colored. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays. Take frequent work if you must work outdoors. Do no leave any people or pets in vehicles.

Be a great neighbor by checking on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat, especially the elderly.

FIREWORKS SAFETY Nothing says “Fourth of July” like fireworks. To help stay safe while enjoying them, follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point fireworks toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks. 

GRILLING SAFETY If a picnic and grilled goodies are part of someone’s holiday plans, they should follow these steps:

  • Always watch the barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in a house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure children and pets stay away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire. 
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills. 

In addition to these tips, all iPhone and Android smart phone owners should download the new, free American Red Cross First Aid app now so they will have information on how to treat everyday emergencies right in their hands. You can find the app in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.