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Heat Safety for People and Pets in Vehicles

Posted at 1 p.m.

heat safety for people and pets

With the summer months upon us, now is the time to learn about the dangers of heatstroke and being trapped in a hot car. Heatstroke is dangerous and can be deadly.

Never leave children, pets, or older adults unattended in a parked car.

Unfortunately, children mistakenly being left in hot vehicles make up many of the tragedies reported each year.

Use the following life saving tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind yourself and others to check the back seat before walking away from a vehicle.

  • Look Before You Lock. Get into the routine of always checking the back seat of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away.
  • A Gentle Reminder. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it is empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Alternatively, place your phone, briefcase, or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.
  • A Routine Check. If someone else is driving your child, or you alter your daily routine, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.
  • A Key to Safety. You know to keep your vehicle locked, but also keep your keys out of reach; nearly 3 in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle.
animation of heat in vehicles

Animation Courtesy of General Motors and San Francisco State University.

On a warm day, temperatures can rapidly rise to dangerous levels. Even with the windows slightly open, the temperature in a car on a 93-degree day can soar to 125 degrees in just 20 minutes and approximately 140 degrees in 40 minutes.

Keep Your Pets Safe Too

Rolling down the windows has little effect on the temperature inside a car. High temps can cause organ damage and even death for our furry friends.

If your pet shows any of the following signs contact your veterinarian immediately:

  • Heavy panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Profuse salivation

Take steps to reduce the animal’s body temperature, apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck and chest; provide water and ice cubes for hydration; and move the animal into the shade or air-conditioning.

If you see a child or pet alone in a parked car on a hot day, call 9-1-1.

Learn more extreme heat preparedness at www.ready.gov/heat.

Nice Start to the Week — Near-record Heat Tomorrow

Posted at 10 a.m.

It’s been a nice week weather-wise in Fairfax County. Temperatures have been warm, but hey — it’s August.

Summer wants to remind us that it’s still here and temperatures today will rise to near 90°F (Fahrenheit). Tomorrow it will be mostly sunny with a high near 94° — but the combination of heat and humidity may push heat indices to between 100° and 105° degrees Friday afternoon and early evening.

During extremely hot days, there is plenty you can do to stay cool; resting for just two hours in air conditioning can significantly reduce heat-related illnesses. Take in a movie, stroll through a shopping center or visit one of the Fairfax County Cooling Centers.

Also, please remember — Never leave a pet or child in a parked car.

Find the local forecast here and sign up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts here.

Heat Advisory Today; Excessive Heat Watch on Saturday

Heat Advisory

Posted at 11 a.m.

A heat advisory remains in effect until 8 p.m. this evening and an excessive heat watch is in effect from Saturday afternoon through Saturday evening.

A heat advisory means that a period of high temperatures is expected. The combination of high temperatures and high humidity will create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. An excessive heat watch means that a prolonged period of dangerously high temperatures is possible. Prepare for extreme temperatures and high humidity which would create a situation in which heat illnesses are expected.

The National Weather Service forecasts heat index values around 105°F (Fahrenheit). today and possibly greater than 110°F on Saturday. Temperatures today will rise to the mid to upper 90s and around 100°F tomorrow.

There is a risk of heat-related illness for those without air-conditioning or those who are outdoors for an extended period.

  • Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside.
  • When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when possible.
  • Drink plenty of water.

During extremely hot days, there is plenty you can do to stay cool; resting for just two hours in air conditioning can significantly reduce heat-related illnesses. Take in a movie, stroll through a shopping center or visit one of the Fairfax County Cooling Centers.

Also, please remember — Never leave a pet or child in a parked car.

Heat stroke is an emergency — call 9-1-1 if you or someone you know is affected.

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.