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August 10, 2015

Can You Recognize A Heat Emergency?

Temperatures across California will be blazing hot in the days ahead. We have your heat wave safety checklist to keep your loved ones safe.


On average, 675 deaths from extreme heat events occur each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, including a dual tragedy involving French tourists in New Mexico last week.

The CDC says the best way to beat heat related emergencies is to prevent them. Experts recommend staying out of the heat as much as possible, staying hydrated, using sunscreen and wearing hats and light clothing when outside on hot days.

Jack Neiman-Kimel, a Battalion Chief for the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department in the East Bay, warns, “The elderly and the young have a difficult time regulating body temperature. If they are outside in hot temperatures for even 15 – 20 minutes in over 100° temperatures they can become ill with heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Healthy young and middle aged people working outside in the heat can also fall to these illnesses.”

Neiman-Kimel offers these tips:

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the body loses its ability to sweat, and it is unable to cool down. Body temperatures rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Warning signs vary but may include the following:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

Warning signs vary but may include the following:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Skin: may be cool and moist
  • Pulse rate: fast and weak
  • Breathing: fast and shallow

Call 911 and get medical help on the way. Treatment for both of these illnesses would be to try and remove the person from direct sunlight or the heat itself. If you cannot remove them from the heat, provide shade and begin fanning the person. If water is available provide water to the person for drinking and cooling measures. Both illnesses need to be seen in the emergency room at the hospital.

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