Summer has just begun and the Texas heat is already coming in full force with temperatures expected to reach 104 degrees Saturday. Extreme heat can create deadly situations.
Over the next week temperatures are expected to remain in the upper 90s and low 100s through Tuesday, June 12, so here are some safety tips from local community members and state websites aimed at keeping you safe during the extreme heat.
"I would remind people who have or care for small children to please not leave children in a car unattended for any amount of time," said Stephenville Fire Captain Cody Wells. "Nationwide, about 37 children die each year from heat stroke caused by being confined inside a vehicle, and Texas leads the nation in child hot car deaths. This is 100% preventable. It just also happens to be illegal in Texas to leave a child under the age of seven unattended in a vehicle for more than five minutes."
It's important to be able to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke for not only children, but for adults too.
“Your child may not tell you if they’re feeling bad, so it’s critical to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses in order to take proper action and prevent further injury,” states an article from the Texas Children’s Hospital website.
And of course, adults can suffer from heat-related illnesses as well.
“We can all easily prevent heat-related injuries to ourselves by drinking plenty of water and decaffeinated fluids before, during and after being outside in the heat,” the website states. “If you have children, provide them with sunscreen and breathable, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.”
Wells said staying hydrated is very important.
"Drink plenty of water, stay away from the sugary soft drinks and so called energy drinks. Staying hydrated throughout the day is important, especially during heavy exertion and working in the heat," he said. "The color of urine(darker with dehydration) and urine output correlate directly with the body's hydration status. Simply put, if you're not going to the bathroom several times a day you're not drinking enough."
Humans aren’t the only ones who can suffer from the heat, your pets are also affected.
“If you can’t keep them inside make sure they have plenty of fresh water and shade with ventilation,” said Erath County Humane Society executive director Diane McCoy. “Occasionally mist the dog or even the ground in a pen to keep them cooler. Never walk them on hot pavement or leave them in the bed of a truck. If it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for your dog. Their pads can blister in just 60 seconds.”
The SPCA of Texas also has some tips, which include walking dogs early in the morning or in the evening hours and keeping your pet well-groomed.
Extreme heat can also have an impact on your vehicle and AAA has some tips to keep you going on the road.
“Most drivers think battery problems occur primarily in winter, but summer heat can negatively impact your car’s battery even more than the bitter cold,” the AAA website states. “While drivers cannot do much about the heat, they can make sure their battery is securely mounted in place to minimize vibration.”
Other tips from AAA include keeping your engine cool, avoiding excess heat where the rubber meets the road, making sure to refill engine fluids and being prepared for a breakdown by keeping an emergency kit inside your vehicle.
Here are some additional tips from the Texas Department of Public Safety during extreme heat:
Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles. Listen for critical updates from the National Weather Service. Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun. Stay on the lowest floor out of the sun if air conditioning is not available. Postpone outdoor games and activities. Limit intake of alcoholic beverages and drink plenty of water even if you do not feel thirsty. Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone. Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power during periods of extreme heat.