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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.

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.

It’s Hot Out There; Here’s How to Keep Your Cool

Posted at 11 a.m.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a heat advisory from noon until 8 p.m. Heat index values are expected to be between 102 – 107 degrees. There also is a marginal risk for a strong or severe thunderstorm.

Wally Simmons of our Risk Management Division has some good tips for staying cool and safe outside, especially for those who have to work outside during high heat.

According to the weather service, heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion.

Heat Safety Tips

The best line of defense against these illnesses is prevention. The following tips will help you stay safe when the mercury rises:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun. Should you need some respite from the heat, take in a movie or visit a nearby shopping center or mall. We also have several county facilities that serve as cooling centers — libraries, community centers and the Fairfax County Government Center — where you can get in out of the heat. Please check the operating hours to make sure the facility is open before arriving.
  • Stay on the lowest level out of the sun if air conditioning is unavailable.
  • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
  • Avoid doing strenuous work outside during the warmest part of the day.

When necessary, NWS issues heat-related alerts to help you prepare for extreme weather conditions. To learn more about these alerts and how they impact you visit www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/ww.shtml. And to sign up for severe weather alerts to you email inbox and by text on your smartphone, sign up for Fairfax Alerts.

Air Quality

Today is also a code orange air quality day, meaning air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups. Children and adults with respiratory and heart sensitivity should limit outdoor activity. In addition, everyone should take these steps to help our air quality:

  • Refuel after dusk, use fuel-efficient vehicles.
  • Avoid driving, use transit and telework.
  • Avoid using aerosol products.

Never Leave a Child in a Vehicle Unattended

Posted at 11:55 a.m.

Heatstroke is the number two killer of children behind car crashes. That’s why we’ve joined with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to attempt to reduce these deaths by reminding you — especially parents and caregivers — about the dangers of heatstroke and leaving children in hot cars.

As outside temperatures rise, the risks of children dying from being left alone inside a hot vehicle also rises. According to safercar.gov, one child dies from heatstroke nearly every 10 days from being left in a hot vehicle. In 2014 there were at least 30 heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles. What is most tragic is that the majority of these deaths could have been prevented.

Please remember these three things:

  1. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended.
  2. Make it a habit to look in the backseat every time you exit the car.
  3. Always lock the car and put the keys out of reach.

Don't Forget to Look Before You Lock

If you are a bystander and see a child unattended in a vehicle:

  • Always make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • If the child appears ok, you should attempt to locate the parents; or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the public address system.
  • If there is someone with you, one person should actively search for the parent while someone waits at the car.
  • If the child is not responsive and appears in great distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child, even if that means breaking a window.

Never leave children unattended in vehiclesChildren’s body temperatures can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult, and heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80-degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.

Know the warning signs of heatstroke, which include:

  • Red, hot and moist or dry skin.
  • No sweating.
  • A strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse.
  • Nausea.
  • Confusion or acting strangely.

If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, cool the child rapidly by spraying them with cool water or with a garden hose — never an ice bath. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

According to safercar.gov, 59 percent of all vehicle-related heatstroke deaths in children are caused by a child accidentally being left in the car; 29 percent are from a child getting into a hot car on their own. Remember to “look before you lock.”Look before you lock

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