GOVERNOR AND STATE OFFICIALS URGE SAFETY FROM EXTREME HEAT Ohio Faces the Hottest Day Yet This Week, Personal Safety and Checking on Neighbors Becomes Crucial

COLUMBUS – Governor John R. Kasich with the Ohio Department of Health Director Ted Wymyslo, Ohio Department of Aging Director Bonnie Kantor-Burman, Ohio Emergency Management Agency Director Nancy Dragani and American Red Cross Regional Emergency Services Director Ron Hakes addressed the state today, urging personal safety and reemphasizing residents to check on their neighbors during this severe heat wave, after the heat-related deaths of three Licking County seniors with medical conditions was confirmed yesterday.  

“Check on those that you know and those that you love and help them out,” said Gov. Kasich. “If you see any problems, dial 911. It’s going to be brutally hot today – let’s stay focused.” The best defense against heat-related problems is prevention. Staying cool and making simple changes in fluid intake, activities and clothing during hot weather will help keep you safe and healthy. State officials remind Ohioans that today’s weather conditions can limit the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely high temperatures.  Among those at highest risk for heat stroke or heat exhaustion are:

  • Infants and children up to 4 years old.
  • People 65 and older.
  • People who are overweight.
  • People who over-exert during work or exercise.
  • People who are ill or on certain medications.

Information for Seniors People aged 65 years or older are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. People in this category should be given and reminded of the following information:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible.
  • Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device during an extreme heat event.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.

Drink Cool Fluids

  • Help your body sweat and cool down by staying well hydrated with water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Adults should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Monitor your body; you may need to drink more on hot and humid days.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  • Avoid fluids that contain alcohol or caffeine, because they can add to dehydration and increase the effects of heat illness.
  • Do not take salt tablets without a doctor’s advice.

Monitor or Limit Outdoor Activities

  • Plan outdoor activities for the early morning or the evening, when the sun is less direct.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
  • A wide-brimmed hat protects against sunburn and helps keep the body cooler.
  • Move to the shade or into an air-conditioned building at the first signs of heat illness.
  • Very young children may become preoccupied with outdoor play and not realize they are overheated. Adults should mandate frequent “breaks” and bring children indoors for a cool drink.
  • Children or adolescents involved in team sports should be closely monitored for signs of heat stress. Consideration should be given to modifying practice or play during the hottest parts of the day.

Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion

  • Remember, heat-related symptoms can come on quickly.
  • Symptoms of heat exhaustion are: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or fainting. People experiencing these symptoms should be moved to a cool, shady or air-conditioned area, and provided cool, non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Remove layers of clothing, if possible.

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke

  • Heat stroke is a potentially life-threatening condition, characterized by: a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher; red, hot and dry skin with no sweating; rapid pulse; headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; unconsciousness; and gray skin color.
  • People experiencing heat stroke need immediate medical assistance.
  • Before help arrives, begin cooling the victim by any means possible, such as spray from a garden hose or by placing the person in a cool tub of water.

Don’t Forget Your Pets

  • Animals kept outdoors should have plenty of fresh water and a covered area to get out of the sun and cool down.
  • Consider jogging in the early morning or evening to help keep pets and yourself cool.

For additional resources on heat safety, visit the following websites:

Ohio Department of Health: http://www.odh.ohio.gov/

Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness: http://www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/SpringSummerExcessiveHeat.aspx

Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready: http://www.ready.gov/heat

American Red Cross: www.redcross.org

http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/Preparedness/checklists/HeatWave.pdf

 Residents without power can call their local 211 numbers for information and assistance, or dial 911 in an emergency. Information is also available on Twitter at #OHwx and #severeweather.

For a list of county emergency management agencies, visit the Ohio EMA website, www.ema.ohio.gov and click on “Ohio County EMA Directors List” in the left-side menu.

Chronology

·         July 6: Gov. Kasich and directors from Ohio Departments of Aging and Health, Ohio EMA and American Red Cross urge residents to check on their neighbors and to stay safe during the heat wave

·         July 4: Federal Government Grants Request for Replacement Food Assistance

·         July 3: Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor and Ohio Department of Aging Director ask Ohio’s colleges and universities to urge their students to help those affected by the outages and heat.

·         July 2: FEMA delivers initial water supplies to counties and other local governments.

·         July 1: Another round of severe storms move across Ohio wiping out power to more residents.

·         July 1: Members of Ohio National Guard deploy to help check on Ohioans who may be at risk as a result of power outages and extreme heat.

·         June 30: Gov. Kasich’s request for federal assistance is approved.

·         June 30: Gov. Kasich spoke to the President and requested federal assistance to respond to the storm. He also spoke with utility company CEOs and local elected officials to make state resources available to expedite recovery activities.

·         June 30: Gov. Kasich declared an emergency for the entire state of Ohio so state agencies can assist local government response and recovery efforts. The National Guard was activated to help deliver needed supplies and conduct door-to-door checks in select areas to identify vulnerable Ohioans threatened by the severe heat.

·         June 29: Ohio’s Emergency Operations Center in Columbus was activated to coordinate state and local storm recovery efforts. The state contacted Federal Emergency Management Agency officials to let them know federal assistance may be needed.

·         June 29: Severe storms and high winds during evening rush hour knocked out power for approximately one million homes and businesses across two-thirds of the state.

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