The Heat is On… Stay Safe!

Public Health & Safety

As the dog days of summer settle in, hot and humid conditions have taken hold, and heat index values are beginning to climb steadily. Heat advisories will soon become part of the forecast mix as we go through July, August and even September. This hot and soupy recipe equates to a greater risk for heat-related illnesses, and precautions must be taken now to stay safe.

Orange County continues to educate its residents on staying well hydrated and avoiding being outside for too long during the hottest times of the day. “With hotter temperatures and higher heat indexes a reality at least for the next couple of months, knowing how to stay safe is critical,” said Lauraleigh Avery, Emergency Manager, Office of Emergency Management, Orange County Fire Rescue Department.

With prolonged exposure to extreme heat, your body is more at risk for experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, thirst, heavy sweating and weakness. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not received.

When the body cannot control temperature, body temperature rises rapidly, and sweating mechanisms can fail, thus Orange County is asking residents to remain inside as much as possible. Other tips help the body maintain a proper temperature:

  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, and light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight
  • Schedule outdoor tasks for either earlier in the day or later in the day
  • Drink a cup of cool water every 20 minutes when working outside
  • Hydrate with beverages that contain electrolytes
  • Use broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 or higher
  • Take breaks indoors with air conditioning when possible (cooling locations)

Avery stressed that extreme heat can be especially dangerous to certain groups, infants and children, pregnant women, older adults, laborers, individuals with medical conditions and athletes. As a good neighbor, you should check on elderly neighbors or families that may need help during these hotter temperatures

“Most importantly, don’t leave children, the elderly or pets in a vehicle, as this can quickly cause a heat-related emergency or death,” asserted Avery. “Look before you lock!”

For all residents, the message is to remain inside if possible, and for vulnerable residents, visit any of the County’s libraries or community centers, or seek assistance from the county’ network of homeless shelter partners, which has created additional space to shelter.

For any heat-related emergencies, call 911 immediately while attempting to cool down the patient in whatever way possible. For additional heat safety tips, visit Florida Disaster or go to #GetSummerReady.

For current heat advisories, visit the National Weather Service.

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