Ohio EMA provides guidance and tips ahead of extreme heat

Published 5:00 am Sunday, June 16, 2024

COLUMBUS — Summer can be a great time of year to play sports, enjoy family picnics, or take a stroll through a neighborhood park; but it can also bring excessive heat that may make your summertime fun take a dangerous turn. As Ohio can expect extreme heat periodically throughout the summer, these #BeatTheHeatOhio tips will help Ohioans prepare for the summer heat.

“Summertime in Ohio is a perfect opportunity to explore all that Ohio has to offer, but it’s important to be aware of the risks that come with high temperatures,” said Governor DeWine. “I encourage you to stay informed of heat advisories, drink plenty of water, check on older neighbors, and have a plan if the heat becomes too much.”

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is promoting preparedness and resilience when it comes to extreme heat with the #BeatTheHeatOhio summer safety series on Ohio EMA’s social media accounts. Understanding extreme heat threats that may impact Ohio will put residents at an advantage to be better prepared.

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What is considered extreme heat?

In most of the United States, extreme heat is a long period (two to three days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees.

Can extreme heat cause injury or death?

Yes, extreme heat often results in the highest annual number of deaths among all weather-related disasters. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, heat-related deaths have been increasing in the United States in recent years with  1,602 occurring in 2021; 1,722 in 2022; and 2,302 in 2023.

Head exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat strokes are urgent health risks that can occur during extreme heat. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that can be fatal, so it is important to act immediately if a person is showing signs of heat stroke. Symptoms can include high body temperature (103°F or higher); hot, red, dry or damp skin; fast, strong pulse; headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion or losing consciousness.

If a person exhibits any of these signs, move them to a cooler place and call 911.  Use cool rags, cold packs, encourage the person to drink water, and fan the individual while waiting for first responders.

Who is most at risk? 

Older adults, infants and children, people with chronic conditions, people without air conditioning, outdoor workers, and emergency responders are considered high-risk populations and should exercise caution in the extreme heat.

What can you do?

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Remember to avoid alcohol or liquids containing large amounts of sugar or caffeine.
  • Stay informed. Know when there is a heat advisory and check the weather before heading out for the day. Heat alerts can be found on the National Weather Service website.
  • Check on neighbors who may be at high risk and ask if they need assistance.
  • During the heat of summer, outside workers should take extra precautions by staying hydrated, taking frequent rest breaks, and dressing for the heat.
  • Dress for the weather in loose fitting clothing. Take advantage of community pools and cooling centers.

Pets and Livestock  

Ensure your pets and livestock are safe from overheating. A few tips are:

  • Always make sure your pets have fresh water and shaded shelter. As the sun moves, the shade moves with it, so pay attention to their needs.
  • Pets and livestock should have access to fresh cool water.
  • Pets can get heat stroke, too. Symptoms include excessive thirst, heavy panting, vomiting, restlessness, lethargy, fever, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and profuse drooling. It is recommended they be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
  • Never leave a pet in an unattended vehicle.

Be prepared and stay informed this summer to safely enjoy all Ohio has to offer. For more information on extreme weather visit Ready.Gov Follow us on social media: Facebook and Twitter “X”