Summer heat is here in Oklahoma bringing with it potential health hazards. The American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma has steps people can follow as well as locations for our neighbors to beat the heat.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including tornadoes, floods and hurricanes.
Everyone is at risk when temperatures rise above 90 degrees; and the elderly and the very young are most susceptible to heat and heat-related illnesses. Heat-related illnesses can cause serious injury and even death if unattended. Signs of heat-related illnesses include nausea, dizziness, flushed or pale skin, heavy sweating and headaches. Persons with heat-related illness should be moved to a cool place, given cool water to drink and ice packs or cool wet cloths should be applied to the skin. If a victim refuses water, vomits or loses consciousness, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.
“The Red Cross wants to make sure our neighbors are educated on heat related illnesses,” said Janienne Bella, regional CEO. “That’s why we work with our community partners to help Oklahoma stay safe and cool when temperatures begin to rise.”
The Red Cross continues its partnership with OG&E and area agencies, like the Oklahoma Conferences of Churches, to designate “Cool Zones” for anyone needing to escape the heat and avoid heat related illnesses. For seniors and others vulnerable to heat-related problems, a Cool Zone can be a lifesaver.
“Member churches of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches are excited about participating in this critically important program. Keeping people cool and safe during the scorching summer months is a vital service to the community provided by churches,” said Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee, Executive Director for Oklahoma Conference of Churches”
Cool Zones are located in structures such as libraries, churches, senior citizen centers, etc., and offer air conditioning and cold bottled water to those that don’t have access to these essential items. We are urging residents to “be a cool neighbor” and keep an eye out for those around you who may need help cooling down this summer.
NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN, PETS IN THE CAR, the inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
HEAT EXHAUSTION Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
HEAT STROKE IS LIFE-THREATENING. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.
About Cool Zones: There are more than 200 Cool Zone locations in the Oklahoma City metro area. To find a Cool Zone near you visit oge.com and Twitter (@CoolZonesOGE) or call 2-1-1 for a list of Cool Zone sites.