Extreme heat can be
serious health hazard
IEMA, local EMAs urge
people to never leave children, pets in cars
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[July 11, 2014]
SPRINGFIELD – On average,
more people die from heat-related causes each year than
any other weather hazard. Yet many people still don’t
take heat dangers seriously. That’s why the Illinois
Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency
management agencies will be working to increase
awareness of heat safety throughout July, traditionally
one of the hottest months in Illinois.
“We’ve had a few hot spells so far this year,
but the hottest part of the summer is yet to come,” said IEMA
Director Jonathon Monken. “Extreme heat isn’t just uncomfortable,
it can be deadly. We want people to be aware of heat hazards and
stay safe this summer.”
According to statistics compiled by the
National Weather Service (NWS), more than 3,800 people died from
heat-related causes in the U.S. from 1986 - 2013. During that same
period, floods caused 2,246 fatalities while tornadoes were
responsible for 2,016 deaths.
Monken said one of the most important safety
tips when temperatures rise is to never leave children, disabled
adults or pets in parked cars. Each year, dozens of children and
countless pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia.
Hyperthermia occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can
Temperatures inside a parked vehicle can
rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even
adults. Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly
decrease the heating rate. The effects can be more severe on
children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults.
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Parents and caregivers are urged to take actions that will help them
remember a child is in the backseat, such as placing a purse,
briefcase, cell phone or other crucial item next to the child.
It’s also important to lock your vehicle doors when at home even if
it is parked in the garage. Curious children can climb into an
unlocked vehicle and become a victim of heat stroke.
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Additional tips on how to protect yourself and others from
heat-related illnesses are available on the state’s Ready Illinois
You can also follow Ready Illinois on Facebook at
www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois and on Twitter at twitter.com/ReadyIllinois.