EMA: Be safe against heat-related illness

Published 1:01 am Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thus far, no heat related injuries have been reported in Covington County, but local emergency management officials say it is probably just a matter of time.

Kristy Stamnes, Covington County E-911/EMA director, said heat indexes in the coming days are expected to range between 100 and 105 degrees, which would place the county under a heat advisory.

“A heat advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is likely to continue,” she said. “The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible, so we all need to be careful outdoors.”

Stamnes recommended drinking plenty of fluids and staying out of the sun.

“The excessive heat and humidity will make a dangerous combination for people if proper precautions aren’t taken,” she said. “The excessive heat kills people by taxing the human body beyond its abilities to cool itself. In a normal year, about 175 Americans die from the heat, and those deaths can be prevented.”

Stamnes said people should remember to check on the young and old during the hot summer days.

“This is a dangerous situation,” she said. “Children, the elderly and people with chronic ailments are usually the first to suffer from the heat. Heat exhaustion, heat cramps or in extreme cases, heat stroke, may result from prolonged exposure to these conditions, so please check on friends, relatives or anyone you think might be at risk.”

Sheriff Dennis Meeks also reminded parents to keep watchful eyes on their children. There has been recent news of heat related deaths around the county, specifically the death of a 5-month-old baby in Louisiana, left in the car while its mother went to work, and a 2-year-old girl in Kentucky accidentally locked inside a car for two hours.

“I don’t have to remind people that it’s hot outside,” Meeks said. “I do want to say that whatever you do, don’t leave children unattended in a vehicle. We’ve seen the news. We know what can happen.

“The sheriff’s office doesn’t want to have to bring charges against someone for that type of neglect, nor do we want any family or community to have to deal with the death of a child,” he said.