Saturday, July 20, 2013

KCK Fire Department offers tips about the heat

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- The Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department released these tips on heat safety. Check them out!


Heat emergencies usually fall into three categories of increasing severity: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and finally heat stroke, which is a life threatening medical emergency.

Heat cramps result from dehydration and electrolyte loss.  As the body loses water through sweat, essential body salts and electrolytes are lost which result in muscles cramping.  Muscle cramps, fatigue, profuse sweating, and thirst are early symptoms of a heat emergency.

Heat exhaustion includes many of the symptoms listed above.  However later symptoms such as headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting and cool, moist skin can develop.  This is a heat related emergency that requires medical intervention.

Heatstroke symptoms may include rapid breathing, rapid pulse, a drop in blood pressure, dry, hot, and red skin, irrational behavior, fever, seizures, unconsciousness and coma.  This is a life threatening medical emergency that must be treated in a hospital setting.

Body temperatures above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) are life threatening.  At 107 degrees Fahrenheit (41.7 degrees Celsius) brain death begins and at 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) death is nearly certain.

Anyone can be stricken by heat illness.  However, certain groups are more susceptible to heat illness and injury:

Those who engage in excessive physical activity under harsh conditions (such as firefighters, construction workers and athletes)
  • Young children
  • The elderly
Prior to the arrival of the Fire Department and Ambulance first aid may include:
  • Having the person lie down in the shade or where it is cool
  • Appling cool, wet cloths to the person’s skin
  • Using a fan to lower the body temperature
  • Placing cold compresses on the person’s neck, groin, and armpits
Prevention of heat related emergencies can be accomplished by:
  • Drinking plenty of fluids especially before any strenuous activity
  • Resting frequently
  • Seeking shade whenever possible
  • Avoiding outside strenuous activity during hot or humid weather
  • Wearing loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in hot weather
  • Wearing wide brimmed hats
  • Avoiding enclosed spaces that have no ventilation
Call 911 immediately if you suspect a heat related illness.