Severe Weather Awareness
Summertime brings family, friends and workers outside to both work and recreate. With summertime comes extreme weather, such as high heat and humidity; thunderstorms with heavy rain, high winds, hail, and deadly lightning. Each of these phenomenon's have different characteristics. Below is characteristics of High Heat and Lightning:
High Heat and Humidity
Heat disorders generally have to do with a reduction or collapse of the body’s ability to shed heat by circulatory changes and sweating, or a chemical (salt) imbalance caused by too much sweating. When heat gain exceeds the level the body can remove, or when the body cannot make up for fluids and salt lost through perspiration, the temperature of the body’s inner core begins to rise and heat-related illness may develop. Ranging in severity from heat cramps to heat strokes, heat disorders share one common feature: the individual has overexposed or over exercised for their age and physical condition in the existing thermal environment.
Sunburn, with its ultraviolet radiation burns, can significantly retard the skin’s ability to shed excess heat. Studies indicate that, other things being equal, the severity of heat disorders tend to increase with age; heat cramps in a 17 year old may be heat exhaustion in someone 40 and heat stroke in persons over 60. The idea is to lose enough water to regulate body temperature, with the least possible chemical disturbance.
At any one time on earth there are 2,000 thunderstorms going on with 100 lightning strikes per second. Lightning is the #2 weather killer and kills more people in the US than tornados and hurricanes combined. As warm weather approaches, you should keep an eye to the sky for locally changing weather.
The top 5 activities for Lightning Casualties are:
- Open Fields
- Water Related Activities (Boating, Swimming, Fishing, etc.)
- Under Trees or other tall isolated objects
- Open Vehicles
Lightning Safety Tips
- Use the ‘30-30’ Rule—If the time between lightning and thunder is 30 seconds or less, seek proper shelter. Wait 30 minutes after last thunder before leaving proper shelter.
- The best shelter from lightning is a typical house or other fully enclosed constructed building with plumbing and electricity. (Stay away from corded telephones, plumbing, electrical appliances, TV cables, metal windows or doors, or any electrical conducting path leading outside. Don’t stand near a window to watch.) Rain shelters or open picnic pavilions offer NO protection.
- The second best shelter will be a solid metal roof and sides. Make sure that the windows are up and don’t touch any conducting path leading outside. Convertibles, motorcycles and/or bicycles offer NO protection.
Heat Wave Safety Tips
- Slow Down—Strenuous activities should be reduced, rescheduled, or eliminated to the coolest time of the day. Persons at risk should stay in the coolest accessible place.
- Dress for Summer—Lightweight and light colored clothing reflect sunlight and heat, and helps your body maintain normal temperature.
- Put Less Fuel on your Inner Fires—Foods (like proteins) that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss. Drink plenty of water or other non-alcohol fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Persons who have (1) epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on fluid restrictive diets or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages.
- Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.
- Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces dangers from heat.
- Don’t get too much sun—Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much, more difficult.