Severe Weather Awareness Week: Heat Safety

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Heat is the #1 weather-related killer in the U.S.

HOUSTON — Severe Weather Awareness Week kicks off with a weather threat many underestimate — heat. 

It may seem less menacing than what we typically think of as dangerous weather, like hurricanes or tornadoes, but it is the #1 weather-related killer in the U.S. 

According to the CDC, there are more than 600 heat-related deaths reported every year and 38 of those are children left in cars. We must make that our first rule when it comes to heat safety. Never leave kids, pets, elderly, or anyone in a car — not even when it may seem “cool” enough. Eighty-eight degrees outside turns to 107 inside a car in just 10 minutes. 

When it comes to protecting our pets, especially in extended periods of dangerous heat, exercise them in the early morning and late evening hours. Remember they can’t express how hot the asphalt is to their bare paws, and you may not be aware of it in your shoes. 

Kids, pets and the elderly aren’t the only vulnerable groups we need to look out for. ANYONE can become susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke quickly, especially if their job/activities require them to spend any time outdoors. You must keep an eye on how your body feels and how those around you are responding to the heat. You will need to stay hydrated, take breaks in the shade, seek air-conditioning, and if you’re experiencing symptoms like disorientation, a throbbing headache and a strong pulse, you will need medical attention.

Heat Advisory and Excessive Heat Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service to help alert the public as to when they’ll need to be vigilant. In Houston,  the criteria for each is as follows:

On those days it is advised you limit your time outdoors. The summer heat is also best beat with the proper gear. What should you wear? Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. The light color reflects a good portion of the sun’s rays to prevent further heating of your body. The loose fit allows your body to sweat and cool itself off. 

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