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As temperatures rise heat safety is paramount

Kim Harris

Managing Editor

As temperatures continue to soar, most days breaking the 100 degree mark, it's important to remember what to do to stay safe and healthy during a heat wave.

According to safety expert Los Angeles fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna, "It's been hot for so long; it almost seems like we never had a winter."

The bad news, DiGiovanna said, is we aren't even into August, so the heat is just beginning.

Though there isn't much of anything anyone can do about Mother Nature, DiGiovanna said there are still steps people can take to cool things down for themselves and their families.

Here are DiGiovanna's tips for staying cool when the thermostat rises.

Never leave infants, children or pets in cars. The heat outside can multiply many times over inside a vehicle.

Slow down.

"Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day," he said. "Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors."

Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.

Drink plenty of water.

"Your body needs water to keep cool," DiGiovanna said. "Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limit caffeinated beverages."

Turn on air-conditioning at home. DiGiovanna said that during excessive heat periods, spending more time in air-conditioned places is always a good move.

"Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat," he said. "If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day. Don't get too much sun, as sunburn reduces your body's ability to dissipate heat."

Be aware of water safety.

"Be vigilant about water safety if headed to a pool or beach," he said. "Never leave a child unattended near water and keep lifesaving gear handy."

DiGiovanna's other tips include planning for power outages, using lightweight blankets when sleeping, keeping

blinds and curtains closed from morning until the late afternoon to block extra direct heat from sunlight.

Using small appliances like slow cookers and tabletop grills rather than a traditional oven or stove helps keep kitchen heat to a minimum and verifying seat belts and car seat restraints are not too hot before buckling yourself or anyone else into a car can help to avoid burn injuries, he said.

"Let's face it, we all like to be 'cool' but sometimes it's tough, he said. "So lay low and keep cool, the summer has just begun."

For more heat safety information, visit

Kim Harris can be reached by email at [email protected].


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