The recent prevalence of warmer than average temperatures is causing many local residents to consider the potential of a very hot summer. As the summer equinox approaches, preparing for the months ahead means staying in the shade when necessary and making sure food and water is consistently available in the house for everyone, including pets.
Phil McCarty is the Morgan County Emergency Management Coordinator. McCarty says that when you find yourself in a situation of uncomfortable heat, the best things to do are staying hydrated and knowing your surroundings.
“By removing yourself from the situation any way you can… moving into the shade, get a breeze, get next to a fan. And staying hydrated. Hydrated doesn’t mean I’m just going to stay hydrated today, right now because I’m going outside. Hydration starts and continues day in and day out; it’s a constant process.”
Staying aware of where infants and elderly family members are is vital in the heat of summer.
“Infants cannot move themselves out of the sun. They’re not at that age. We have to be able to protect them as well as understanding where they’re at and what they’re doing. Younger kids don’t have the protection mechanisms we have as adults and don’t know how to recognize the warning signs when they get overheated. So we need to look over the younger population, and some of our older population. As we get older, we lose our temperature mechanisms to maintain and we may not realize how hot it really may be.”
McCarty understands that many area residents do not have ready access to air conditioning.
“When we start seeing extreme temperatures, we will start to look at having cooling centers possibly opened. We handle that on a case-by-case, day-by-day basis, seeing what the need is.”
When temperatures begin to move towards one hundred degrees, the body is affected in many drastic ways, such as dehydration and excess sweating. Planning ahead of time, from writing a list of essentials to ensuring consistent access to water, improves the chances of your body and those of your dependents staying healthy and energetic during the heat.