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In recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods. A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, generally 10 degrees or more above average, often combined with excessive humidity. These conditions can be dangerous and even life-threatening for humans who don't take the proper precautions.
For citizens trying to stay cool during hot temperatures, there are multiple City facilities open where folks can escape the scorching temperatures outside.
- Library, 706 Fourth Street, is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, from 1 until 5 p.m.
- Chilled water will be available inside the Library during open hours.
- City Hall, 380 A Avenue, is open weekdays 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
During a heat wave:
- Never leave a child or animal inside a vehicle on a warm day. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
- Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, community centers, shopping malls, and theaters can be a cool place to beat the heat.
- Do not rely solely on fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees. You could increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water - even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
- Take cool showers or baths.
- If you’re outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face.
- Avoid high-energy activities outdoors. Avoid working outdoors during the midday heat, if possible.
- Check yourself, family members, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness. Learn the signs for when someone is suffering from dehydration or heat stroke: www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html
- 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 affected by the heat. Know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young, sick or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.
- Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade.
During heat waves people are susceptible to three heat-related conditions. Go to www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/heat-wave-safety.html to learn how to recognize and respond to them.
- Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen. Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat.
- Heat exhaustion is a more severe condition than heat cramps. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion.
- Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that usually occurs by ignoring the signals of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke develops when the body systems are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning. Signs of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; confusion; vomiting; and seizures. Heat stroke is life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.