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EXCESSIVE: Relentless heat wave causes feds to issue tips; some relief early next week?

July 4, 2012

STAY SAFE DURING EXCESSIVE HEAT CONDITIONS
Be ready for high temperatures with a few simple steps

COLUMBIA CITY – With an excessive heat warning for Whitley and area counties firmly in place for the next four days and high temperatures to settle near 100 degrees, the federal government has issued tips on how to cope. Perhaps the biggest coping mechanism will be forecast highs in the low- to mid-80s early next week.

Regardless, here is what the feds want Whitley Countians to know about the ongoing heat wave:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants individuals and families to understand how to cope with excessive heat and is encouraging everyone to exercise caution when faced with extreme conditions.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued excessive heat warnings and advisories in areas throughout the Midwest for the next several days. A heat index in excess of 100-105 can be expected in these areas. It is essential residents take the necessary precautions to avoid the harmful impacts of the high temperatures.

"A combination of high temperatures and high humidity can create a dangerous situation for you and your family," said Andrew Velasquez III, FEMA Region V administrator. "Know the steps you can take to stay safe in excessive heat and remember to check in on family, friends, and neighbors especially those who are elderly, disabled or have functional needs."

The key to survival is to know what to do before and during a period of extreme heat."

During extremely hot weather, you should take the following precautions:
·Become familiar with the emergency plans of your community, school, caregivers and workplace.
·Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
·If your home is without power, consider staying with family or friends or visiting a local cooling center. Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
·Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities that are air conditioned.
·Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
·Drink plenty of water. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
· Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
· Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.

· Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone. It is especially important to check on the elderly, disabled and those with functional needs.
· Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
· Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.

To prepare for extreme heat:
· Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.
· Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
· Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
· Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
· Keep storm windows up all year.
· If you are without air conditioning, you can use box fans and ceiling fans to promote air circulation throughout your home. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the perspiration rate of evaporation.

Extreme heat brings with it the possibility of heat-induced illnesses, including severe sunburns, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. Understand your symptoms, and take the appropriate actions, seeking medical attention if your conditions are severe.

For more information and tips on being ready for extreme heat, visit www.fema.gov and www.ready.gov.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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