Kansas Division of Emergency Management officials are urging Kansans to take extra precautions due to the extreme temperatures and dry conditions across the state this week.
The extreme heat and rising heat indices poses a danger to both people and their pets.
"Plan ahead to stay out of the extreme heat as much as possible," said Angee Morgan, the deputy director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. "If you must work outside or be out for an extended period, drink plenty of water, use sunscreen, and wear light colors and a hat. Take frequent breaks and know the signs of heat exhaustion. Keep a close eye on children and check on elderly neighbors. And remember your pets. Ensure they have plenty of water and shade."
Morgan noted it’s also important to have a plan for where your family can go if there is a power outage, and to take time to ensure your emergency preparedness kit is readily available.
Wildfire dangers/fireworks safety
In addition to the heat, many areas of the state are experiencing extremely dry conditions, setting the stage for potential wildfires. With the approach of the July 4th Independence Day holiday, KDEM officials are urging Kansans to take precautions as they prepare to celebrate.
"We want everyone to have a good time celebrating," said Morgan, "but dry, windy, conditions mixed with fireworks are the perfect combination for uncontrolled fires."
Morgan said simple precautions can help reduce the chances of wildfire and help keep everyone safe.
"Limit who is in control of setting off the fireworks," she said. "It’s easier to keep track of potential fire hazards if you have only a few people in charge of the matches and other materials."
"Keep a hose handy and turned on, ready to put out any small fires that may begin. Also, keep an eye on changing weather conditions. If it’s windy, wait until later to set off fireworks, particularly aerial displays."
Additional heat safety recommendations are provided below from the National Weather Service, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and American Red Cross. Additional wildfire prevention/fireworks safety guidelines are provided below from the National Council on Fireworks Safety.
Heat Safety Guidelines
The following heat safety guidelines are advised by the National Weather Service at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/index.shtml:
- Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or reschedule activities until the coolest time of the day.
- Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
- Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids.
- During excessive heat periods, spend more time in air-conditioned places. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or air conditioned location for part of the day.
- Don't get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body's ability to dissipate heat.
- Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.
- Watch for signs of heat-related illness:
- Sunburn: Redness and pain.
- Heat Cramps: Painful spasms usually in the muscles of legs and abdomen.
- Heat exhaustion: Heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, clammy skin; fainting and vomiting but may have normal temperature.
- Heat stroke (or sunstroke): High body temperature (106° F or higher), hot dry skin, rapid and strong pulse, possible unconsciousness. Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal. While waiting for emergency assistance, move the victim to a cooler environment, reduce body temperature with cold bath. Remove clothing, use fan/air conditioners. Do NOT give fluids.
For additional information on what to do regarding extreme heat conditions may be found by going to http://www.kdheks.gov/beh/extreme_heat.htm .
An Excessive Heat Events Guidebook is available in PDF format by going online to http://www.epa.gov/heatisland/about/pdf/EHEguide_final.pdf. Additional information is available from your local American Red Cross Chapter.
Heat safety for Pets
- Ensure your pet has water and plenty of shade.
- Check on your pet frequently to ensure they aren’t suffering from the heat.
- Don’t leave your pet in an enclosed vehicle. Temperatures rise quickly inside vehicles.
For additional information, go to http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/Preparedness/checklists/HeatWave.pdf
Fireworks safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
- Always have water handy. (A hose or bucket).
- Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter them or combine them.
- Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a "designated shooter."
- Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
- Do not use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives.
- Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.