"Stay Cool, Find Shade, Don’t Over Exert and Drink Plenty of Water"
The National Weather Service, Emergency Management and Public Health Departments in Vermont and New York have joined efforts to designate May 23rd, 2014 as Heat Safety Awareness Day. This joint designation is to bring awareness of the health dangers that can be associated with excessive heat and offer some solutions to protect yourself and others from the heat.
The National Weather Service categorizes a hot day when temperatures reach 90 degrees or warmer. In the North Country, we average between 6 and 10 such days a year, with some years witnessing more than 20 days. In Burlington, the most 90 degree or above days observed was 26 days in 1949. In 2013, 9 days of 90 degree or warmer temperatures were observed. An "official" heat wave is defined as three or more consecutive days with the temperature reaching or exceeding 90 degrees. The longest heat wave in Burlington was 8 days in August 1944. In 2013, there was one heat wave, a 5 day heat wave from July 15 temperatures approaching 100 degrees.
The Hazards of Excessive Heat
Although an "official" HOT DAY is classified when temperatures reach 90 degrees or warmer, heat related health effects can occur with temperatures in the 80s, combined with high humidity and prolonged sun exposure.
During extremely hot and humid weather, the body's ability to cool itself is affected. When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and heat-related illnesses may develop. Heat-related illnesses can range from heat cramps to heat exhaustion to more serious heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.
Factors or conditions that can make some people more susceptible to heat-related illnesses include age (older adults and young children), obesity, fever, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, prescription drug and alcohol use, and sunburn.
Please refer to the following page for heat-related illness symptoms and first aid - http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml
HERE ARE SOME SAFETY TIPS TO BEST COPE WITH THE DANGERS OF HEAT:
Take Action, Be Prepared
Slow down and reduce strenuous activities
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 available.
If you must be outside, try to lessen your exposure by seeking shade frequently and limiting your activities to the early morning or late evening.
NEVER leave children, disabled adults, or pets in parked vehicles. "Beat the heat, check the back seat!"
The National Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont will issue Excessive Heat Watches, Heat Advisories or Excessive Heat Warnings when the Heat Index (Apparent Temperature) is expected to exceed 105°F for several hours or more. The Heat Index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.
IMPORTANT: Since heat index values were devised for shady, light wind conditions, exposure to full sunshine can increase heat index values by up to 15°F. Also, strong winds, particularly with very hot, dry air, can be extremely hazardous.
The Heat Index Chart shaded zone above 105°F (orange or red) shows a level that may cause increasingly severe heat disorders with continued exposure or physical activity.
NWS BTV Heat Awareness Video
For more information and forecasts - visit us at http://www.weather.gov/btv/
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Other links –
NY Health Department Heat Message - http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/1243.pdf
VT Department of Health - http://healthvermont.gov/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat