Will County Emergency Management Agency Advises Residents with Tips for Combatting Severe Heat
With an upcoming stretch of high temperatures expected in Illinois, the Will County Emergency Management Agency is advising residents of measures they can take during severe heat conditions to stay safe and healthy. These measures include being mindful of heat-related illnesses and being aware of the availability of local cooling centers.
“We want to make sure our residents know how to stay safe and cool down while we’re facing high temperatures this week,” said Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant. “Being prepared and knowing what to do when you start to experience signs of overheating and dehydration is important knowledge for our residents.”
According to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), heat is responsible for the highest number of deaths every year from weather-related hazards in Illinois. Heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, can occur in both outdoor and indoor settings. Extreme heat can be particularly hazardous for children, seniors, those with special needs, and pets.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides the following list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illnesses:
- Heat Cramp Symptoms: Painful muscle cramps/spasms usually in legs and abdomen; heavy sweating.
- Heat Exhaustion Symptoms: Heavy sweating, weakness or tiredness, cool, pale, clammy skin; fast, weak pulse, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, headache, fainting.
- Heat Stroke Symptoms: Throbbing headache, confusion, dizziness, body temperature above 103°F, hot, red, dry or damp skin, rapid and strong pulse, fainting, loss of consciousness.
“Heat is the number one weather-related killer, so it’s critical that we educate our residents and provide resources on what to do in times of excessive heat and humidity,” said Will County Emergency Management Agency Director Allison Anderson. “Check in with your neighbors, friends and family when our area experiences extreme weather, especially older adults, young children, and those who are sick or overweight, as they are more likely to succumb to excessive heat.”
In advance of the severe heat expected this week, residents should also be aware of the following tips:
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, and lightweight clothing.
- Avoid strenuous activity during mid-day.
- Limit direct sunlight, both outside and inside.
- Hydrate with water, not caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
- Use awnings or curtains to deflect the sun.
- Fans will move air around, but do not lower your temperature.
- Use air conditioning inside your home or visit an air-conditioned location.
- Check in with relatives and neighbors on if they have access to air conditioning.
- Never leave children or pets in a vehicle.
Residents should also be aware of the cooling centers available in almost every community in the county, including in village halls, fire stations, libraries, or other public meeting sites.
For a full listing of cooling centers, visit the Will County Emergency Management Agency website at www.willcountyema.org/warmingcooling.
More tips on extreme heat safety can be found from IEMA at: https://ready.illinois.gov/hazards/extremetempshot.html.