Heat Safety Tips from Lowndes County Emergency Management and South Health District

Lowndes County, Georgia: Extreme temperatures are expected to impact our region this week, with heat indices near, or above, 100 degrees forecast most days.  These extreme temperatures are anticipated to persist for most of the summer, so it is important that citizens are prepared to withstand the heat. High heat indices can be dangerous, and Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and the Georgia Department of Public Health’s South Health District encourage residents to take steps now to beat the heat.

Prolonged exposure to elevated temperatures can be deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700 heat-related deaths occur each year. Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) urges Lowndes County residents to take steps now to beat the heat.

“Extreme temperatures can be deadly to anyone, especially for seniors, infants, and people with circulation problems. That is why it is important for everyone to stay indoors when possible and make sure to stay hydrated as temperatures rise,” says Lowndes County Emergency Management Director Ashley Tye.

Heat related illnesses are preventable. This is why South Health District encourages residents to take precautions now.

“It is important for residents to take extreme temperatures seriously,” said Dr. William R. Grow, District Health Director. “When the humidity and temperatures are both high, our bodies aren’t able to cool off properly which can lead to heat related illness. Individuals should make sure they know the signs for heat related illnesses and what to look out for.”

According to the CDC, there are two main types of heat-related illnesses: heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

  • Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause permanent disability or death if the person does not receive emergency treatment.
  • Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt, usually through excessive sweating. Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting.

Lowndes County, South Health District, and Ready Georgia give these ten tips to ensure a safe summer for every family:

1. Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.

2. Drink more fluids, regardless of how active you are. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

3. Stay indoors in air-conditioned spaces as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.

4. Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing.

5. Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours.

6. Check on elderly neighbors, family, and friends who do not have air conditioning.

7. Make sure pets have plenty of water and shade, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

8. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

9. Insulate your home by installing weather stripping around your doors and windowsills to keep the cool air inside.

10. Closely monitor a local radio station, TV station, or NOAA Weather Radio, or download the Ready Georgia app for the latest information on excessive heat watches and warnings.

To help Georgians prepare, Ready Georgia, a statewide emergency preparedness campaign created by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security, offers the tools needed to make an emergency supply kit, develop a communications plan and stay informed about potential threats. Visitors to Ready Georgia’s website can create an online profile to receive a tailored plan for the entire family that includes the specific amount of supplies to put in their household Ready kits.

For more information, contact Lowndes County Public Information Officer Meghan Barwick at 229-671-2491 or South Health District Public Information Officer Kristin Patten at 229-415-0001 or visit www.ready.ga.gov.