Extreme Heat Awareness


(By Fire Chief Matt Love) We may be half way through the long, hot days of summer, but there are many more sizzling days ahead, bringing dangerously high temperatures.  During these days of hot temperatures, it is very important to be conscience of the dangers that come with the heat.

Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia, which occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle.  Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day with temperatures in the 70’s.  Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets, and even adults.  Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate.  Here are some stats:

  • Number of children that have died from heatstroke in 2021: 10
  • Number of child heatstroke fatalities in 2019: 53
  • Average number of child heatstroke fatalities per year since 1998: 38
  • Total number of child heatstroke fatalities from 1998 – present: 893

Here are some tips to help prevent heat stroke:

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat
  • Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more
  • Drink extra fluids.  To prevent dehydration, it’s generally recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water, fruit juice, or vegetable juice per day.  Because heat-related illness also can result from salt depletion, it may be advisable to substitute an electrolyte-rich sports drink for water during periods of extreme heat and humidity.
  • Take additional precautions when exercising or working outdoors.  The general recommendation is to drink 24 ounces of fluid two hours before exercise, and consider adding another 8 ounces of water or sports drink right before exercise.  During exercise, you should consume another 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • It’s almost impossible to do this here in Florida, but if possible reschedule or cancel outdoor activity.  If it’s not possible, try to shift your time outdoors to the coolest times of the day, either early morning, or after sunset.
  • Avoid fluids containing caffeine or alcohol, because both substances can make you lose more fluids and worsen heat-related illness.  
  • If you live in a place that doesn’t have fans or air conditioning, try to find a place to spend at least two hours each day (preferably during the hottest part of the day) in an air-conditioned environment.  At home, draw your curtains, shades, or blinds during the hottest part of the day, and open windows at night on two sides of your building to create cross-ventilation.
  • If you are a senior who could use assistance in purchasing an air conditioner, check with your local “Area Agency on Aging” for programs that can assist you. 

We hope that everyone has stayed safe from the heat of the summer.  Please take the time to educate yourself on the dangers the heat can bring and share your knowledge with others, you may save someone’s life!