Beat the Heat

Have fun in the sun — and the water — but stay safe

Here are some tips from American Red Cross and National Weather Service for how to beat the heat:

  • Avoid exertion during the heat of the day
  • Stay hydrated with clear, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquids — even if you’re not thirsty
  • Use caution near rivers or lakes and be sure to wear a life jacket
  • Reschedule strenuous activity to early morning or evening
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke
  • Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when possible
  • Keep blinds or shades closed during the day
  • Wait until cooler times of day to run dishwashers and clothes dryers
  • Instead of using a stove, consider a microwave or outdoor grill

Furthermore, to reduce risk during outdoor work, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments, and anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool, shaded location.

“Heat stroke and other heat-related illness is an emergency,” said Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps. “Call 911 or seek medical attention immediately if you think someone is experiencing health issues due to the heat.”

The Red Cross has some simple steps to help beat the heat:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. The temperature inside can reach a dangerous level within a few minutes.
  • Avoid working outdoors; if you must do so, take frequent breaks and use the buddy system.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone, or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • If possible, bring animals inside. If not, frequently check to ensure they are comfortable and have water and a shady place to rest.
  • Check with your local county office to locate cooling centers near you (downtown Hood River Library, with A/C, serves as a designated area).

This weekend temperatures are expected to reach record highs, possibly in the triple digits. And with the increased heat, more and more people will take up swimming to cool themselves off.

“Many people will flock to local lakes, rivers, pools, and the coast,” said Brian Hoffmeister, American Red Cross aquatic specialist. “This year Oregon has already experienced a record number of drownings. There are ways to stay safe.”

Helpful tips before rushing to pool parties or rivers and lakes this weekend:

  • The water is cold. Cold water can easily lead to hypothermia and put even strong swimmers in a dangerous situation.
  • Be careful around moving water, which may be much faster and stronger than it appears. This can swiftly push you downstream or exhaust strong swimmers. Be honest with yourself about your swimming abilities.
  • Look before you leap! Don’t blindly jump into unfamiliar water. Underwater obstacles can cause significant injury or death. Always jump feet first, especially this year with severely low water levels.
  • Never swim alone. Always swim with others, preferably in a supervised or lifeguarded area.
  • Wear a lifejacket. They are simple to use and can prevent most drowning events. Make sure jackets are properly fitted and contain a U.S. Coast Guard approved label.
  • Know how to respond to a water emergency. Swimmers in distress need help immediately: reach or throw, don’t go. Call 9-1-1.

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