WHFD Urges Residents To Stay Safe During the Summer Heat
By Deputy Chief Jason Simmons
July 25, 2020

As we embark on one of the hottest weeks of the summer, the Watch Hill Fire Department would like to remind everyone of the dangers associated with the extreme heat. Such conditions combined with high humidity (or extreme heat alone) can cause a variety of heat related illnesses or in very extreme cases death.

Heat Stroke

With heat stroke, the body temperature is very high (105 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit). The skin is hot and dry, and the pulse is rapid and shallow. Breathing is usually rapid. The victim may be confused or may even enter a deep coma. Occasionally seizures develop. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea also may be present. Heat stroke may occur with little warning, or it may follow heat exhaustion.

What to do for Heat Stroke: This condition is a medical emergency, dial 911. For heat stroke (hot, dry skin) lay the person down, remove excess clothing and cool the body with cool water or a fan. If signs of shock are observed, elevate the victim’s feet. If the victim is conscious, give them small amounts of water as frequently as tolerated.

Heat Exhaustion

With heat exhaustion the internal body temperature is near normal or slightly elevated. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include severe muscle spasm of the extremities and abdomen (heat cramps). There is heavy sweating, rapid heart rate, extreme weakness and dizziness. Nausea, vomiting, and fainting may also occur.

What to do for Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion symptoms can usually be relieved by removing the person from the heat, giving fluid to drink and allowing them to lay down. Elevate the victim’s feet if signs of shock are present.

General Heat Safety Tips

• Allow yourself to gradually become accustomed to a hot environment.
• Provide frequent rest periods away from the hot environment.
• Drink plenty of water on a regular basis. Waiting until you’re thirsty will not provide enough water.
• Watch people when outside for signs of heat stress.
• Avoid special diets that may contain too little salt.
• Wear proper clothing. Loose fitting and light in color and weight. Wearing of hats will help as well.
• Pace yourself. The heat can catch up quickly.