Letter to the Editor: Prepare for Extreme Heat

Enter to win one of 200 NOAA Weather Radios from Ready Georgia and WSB-TV.

As meteorologists have reported, there’s no end in sight for the heat over Georgia, and due to the fact that heat can be a real killer, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency is asking residents to turn to its Ready Georgia campaign to learn about heat safety.

Just this week a child in New Orleans died from being left in a car, and SafeKids.org has announced the 500th child death due to heat stroke from being left alone in a vehicle. The National Weather Service statistical data shows that heat causes more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes. Based on the 10-year average from 2000 to 2009, excessive heat claims an average of 162 lives a year. By contrast, hurricanes killed 117; floods, 65; tornadoes, 62; and lightning, 48.

To help all Georgians stay safe as temperatures rise, GEMA offers this information on heat safety from its Ready Georgia campaign:

Prepare for Extreme Heat

  • Check to see if your home's cooling system is working properly and be sure air-conditioning ducts are properly insulated.
  • Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep cool air inside.
  • Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.
  • Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers – outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.

Plan to Slow Down

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available, and spend time in air-conditioned places.
  • Eat well balanced, light and regular meals, and drink plenty of water.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible, and protect the face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat and take frequent breaks.

Stay Informed about Heat

  • Closely monitor local radio stations, TV stations or NOAA Weather Radio for the latest information.
  • Learn about the types of medical conditions that can result from heat waves and the proper first aid measures that should be taken.
    • Heat exhaustion symptoms are heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin, a thready pulse and possible fainting and vomiting.
    • Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency that occurs when the body temperature reaches 106°F or higher. Symptoms include hot dry skin, rapid and strong pulse and possible unconsciousness. Summon immediate emergency medical assistance.

Georgians can find this information and more at www.ready.ga.gov. The website also offers an interactive preparedness tool to create custom checklists of emergency supplies and tailored family plans. Through July 15, those who register to use the online tool will be entered to win one of 200 NOAA Weather Radios from Ready Georgia and WSB-TV.

Sarah Lippman, senior account executive at Cookerly Public Relations


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