08/09/07 — County residents try to stay safe from heat

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County residents try to stay safe from heat

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on August 9, 2007 1:45 PM

From staff reports

With temperatures soaring above 100 degrees this week, the American Red Cross is warning people to take precautions during the heat of the day. Extreme temperatures can pose serious health risks.

"Children and seniors are particularly at risk on days like this, but it is a good idea for everyone to take necessary precautions to avoid heat emergencies," said Teresa Williams, disaster services director with he Wayne County unit of the Red Cross.

She urged people to dress in light colors to reflect the sun's rays and wear hats or use an umbrella to stay out of direct sunlight.

People also should drink plenty of fluids, even if they do not feel thirsty at the moment. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine also can help, she said, since they can dehydrate.

Wayne residents also should eat smaller meals and eat more often as well as avoid foods that are high in protein. Protein helps increase metabolic heat.

People who have to work outdoors during the hottest part of the day should pace themselves, or schedule their work so that the most strenuous work can be handled in the mornings or evenings. Workers also should stay hydrated and take breaks before becoming over-heated.

Lisa Daniels of Wayne Roofing & Sheet Metal Co. said employees with the company are starting work earlier and "drinking plenty of Gatorade."

City officials said they, too, are trying to keep employees safe.

Public Works director Neil Bartlett said he is encouraging his crews to take as many breaks as necessary and is keeping a supply of water and sports drinks on all city trucks and sites.

"We're making sure that all the guys who are out there have plenty to drink," he said. "And we have supervisors constantly keeping an eye on them."

Some crews are adjusting their schedules to deal with the heat, he added. The city cemetery and garage teams showed up to work at 6 this morning instead of 7 to avoid being in the sun in the middle of the afternoon.

The Red Cross also urged pet owners to keep water available for their animals at all times and provide them with shade or bring them indoors.

Health officials are urging Wayne County residents to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses.

*Dress in lightweight, light-colored clothing.

*Drink plenty of water or other fluids, even if you're not thirsty at the moment.

*Try to do the most strenuous work early or late in the day and take regular breaks.

*Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which dehydrate the body.

*Make sure pets have water and shade available at all times.

*Don't leave children or pets inside a parked vehicle.

*Don't take salt tablets unless directed to do so by a doctor.