Don’t Leave Kids or Pets Unattended in Vehicles

Look before you lock -- don't leave children or pets unattended in vehicles

Posted at 10 a.m.

Every summer there seems to be a heartbreaking story of a child who was accidentally left in a hot car.

Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children. Unfortunately, even great parents can forget a child in the back seat. Other risk factors include caregivers who aren’t used to driving kids or whose routine suddenly changes. So remember — look before you lock. Always check the back seats of your vehicle before your lock it and walk away.

You can also keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. And if someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.

Want to see why it’s so critically important to take these steps? Watch this video to see how quickly the temperature can rise inside a vehicle.

For more on keeping kids safe, including what you can do if you see a child alone in a car , visit safercar.gov.

Multi-Day Heat Wave to Bring Excessive Heat

Posted at 11:55 a.m.heat

The National Weather Service is forecasting a multiple day heat wave Friday, July 22 through Monday, July 25. You should expect excessive heat with temperatures in the upper 90s with heat indices at or above 105°F (Fahrenheit). The hottest days appear to be Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24 when heat indices could approach 110°F.

A heat dome will build over the region from the Midwest and cause temperatures to soar into the upper 90s and may reach 100°F. This, when combined with high humidity, will create dangerous heat indices exceeding 105°F.

Please use caution this weekend and remember these heat safety tips:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Drink two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour.
    • Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty.
    • Do not drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages because they dehydrate the body.
  • Keep cool indoors: If you can, stay in an air-conditioned area.
    • Ensure your home’s cooling system is working properly before it is truly needed.
    • Resting for just two hours in air conditioning can significantly reduce heat-related illnesses.
    • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls and other community facilities, including the county’s cooling centers.
    • Electric fans may provide comfort, but with temperatures in the 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activities or reschedule outdoor activities for the coolest part of the day, usually the early morning. Limit physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
  • Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Sunburn makes it more difficult for your body to cool off.
    • Wear light-colored clothing, which helps reflect sunlight.
  • Eat light meals, avoiding high-protein foods because they increase metabolic heat.
  • Don’t take salt tablets unless directed by a physician.

Heat Safety

Learn more about extreme heat and how to stay safe, as well as precautions to take for the vulnerable and pets.

Heat Advisory Issued for Today, Thursday, July 14

Heat Advisory

Posted at 9 a.m.

Today, Thursday, July 14, is expected be the hottest day of the summer so far, and the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a heat advisory for Fairfax County, in effect from noon to 8 p.m. A heat advisory means that a period of high temperatures is expected.

Temperatures in the middle 90s combined with high humidity values will produce heat index values between 100 and 105 degrees. This combination of high temperatures and high humidity will create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible.

To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location.

You also may visit any of the county’s Cooling Centers, held at county facilities such as senior centers, RECenters, community centers and libraries, for temporary respite from the heat.

And please remember — Do NOT leave children or pets unattended in vehicles, even with the windows open, and consider checking in on members of our vulnerable population.

Learn more about heat safety and how to stay cool and watch this video for more summer heat safety tips.

Grill and Chill Safely with Summer Health Tips

Posted at 2:45 p.m.

Don’t spoil summer fun. Avoid foodborne illness and learn about pool safety in this video of tips from the Health Department.

Remember: Grills should be placed at least 15 feet from any home, building or combustibles to ensure adequate air circulation. For those of you who live in condos or apartments, never use a gas or charcoal fueled grill on your balconies; doing so is not only unsafe, but it’s also against the law.

It’s Hot Outside … and it Feels Even Hotter

Posted at 10 a.m.

Many of us complained about the weather during the recent rains and of course we muttered this past winter about the cold and snow.

And now? Well, summer is here and that means it’s time to begin the complaining about the heat! And according to the National Weather Service (NWS), heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the U.S., resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year from heat stroke and even more instances of heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion.

The forecast predicts temperatures in the low- to mid-90s today and tomorrow, continuing the week’s streak of 90-plus°F (Fahrenheit) temperatures. While the most dangerous heat is expected today, it will be hot and humid through Saturday with the heat index in the mid 90s to near 100 each afternoon.

Not only is it hot, but the heat index also makes these already hot temps feel even hotter. The index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature. For example, a temperature of 94°F can feel like 97°F all the way up to 135°F depending on the humidity level.

Heat Index National Weather Service

Since heat index values were devised for shady, light wind conditions, exposure to full sunshine can increase heat index values by up to 15°F. Also, strong winds, particularly with very hot, dry air, can be extremely hazardous.

 

Heat Illness

During extremely hot and humid weather, your body’s ability to cool itself is challenged. When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and you or someone you care about may experience a heat-related illness. It is important to know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses.

heat exhaustion or heat stroke

Muscle cramping might be the first sign of heat-related illness and may lead to heat exhaustion or stroke.

Stay Cool

To keep cool during extreme heat, follow this general advice:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Drink two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour.
    • Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty.
    • Do not drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages because they dehydrate the body.
  • Keep cool indoors: If you can, stay in an air-conditioned area.
    • Ensure your home’s cooling system is working properly before it is truly needed.
    • Resting for just two hours in air conditioning can significantly reduce heat-related illnesses.
    • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls and other community facilities, including the county’s cooling centers.
    • Electric fans may provide comfort, but with temperatures in the 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activities or reschedule outdoor activities for the coolest part of the day, usually the early morning. Limit physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
  • Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Sunburn makes it more difficult for your body to cool off.
    • Wear light-colored clothing, which helps reflect sunlight.
  • Eat light meals, avoiding high-protein foods because they increase metabolic heat.
  • Don’t take salt tablets unless directed by a physician.

Learn more about extreme heat and how to stay safe, as well as precautions to take for the vulnerable and pets.

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