Texas Emergency Management ONLINE2014 Vol. 61 No. 8

Message From The Chief

Even if you’ve lived in Texas for a long time and know very well just how hot it gets, you still can easily underestimate how dangerous the extreme heat can be. Including the historic summer of 2011, the last several summers have been some of the hottest on record in Texas. Already this year many Texans have been dealing with dangerous and extremely hot weather.  With 84 percent of the state in some level of drought status, Texas is faced with another long, hot and dry summer.  

Each year in the United States, more and more people suffer heat-related deaths and illness. From 1979 through 2003 more people died from excessive heat exposure than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined.

As the temperatures rise in Texas, it is important to stay cool, use common sense and understand how extreme heat can affect you. Drink plenty of fluids, no matter what your outside activity level is. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink, and avoid drinks with alcohol or large amounts of sugar.

Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness. But some people are at more risk than others. Monitor those around you, such as infants and young children, people over 65 or who have other medical conditions, and others who may more vulnerable to heat-related illness.

If you are going to be active in the outside heat, drink 16 to 32 ounces of cool fluids each hour, dress appropriately, replace the salt and minerals your body loses during strenuous activity, schedule your outside activities carefully, pace yourself, and use a buddy system. In humid areas, sweating is less effective at cooling your body than in drier regions.

There are many online resources available to learn more about how to prepare and respond to the hot days ahead.  Take the time now to learn as much as possible about how to prepare for the excessive heat.

Chief W. Nim Kidd, CEM®

Follow me @chiefkidd on Twitter, and you can also follow
Texas Division of Emergency Management on Twitter @TDEM

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