Hyperthermia Alert Issued for Montgomery County

A Hyperthermia Alert has been issued for Montgomery County for Tuesday, July 6 from 12 p.m. until 7 p.m.

The County issues a Hyperthermia Alert when temperatures and/or heat indices are forecast to reach 95 degrees or higher.

According to the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS), “Extreme heat affects the body’s ability to regulate temperature which can create dangerous conditions if appropriate safety measures are not taken. Heat may affect air quality, especially in urban areas, and may have a stronger impact on the elderly, children, and sick persons.

“County officials urge residents to take precautions to protect themselves, and their loved ones, against heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

“A Hyperthermia Alert is issued for the County when forecasted temperatures, and/or heat index, in at least part of the County is at least 95 degrees or higher creating a hazardous situation in which heat-stroke and heat exhaustion are likely.

“A Heat Emergency Alert could be issued for the County when dangerously hot conditions are present, including, but not limited to, temperatures and/or heat index reaching 105 degrees for a period of at least two days or longer for which it will be dangerous to anyone exposed to the heat for an extended period of time.

“Residents are also asked to check on elderly friends, relatives and neighbors who may be isolated, to ensure they are not showing signs of heat-related illnesses.

“Residents concerned about the well-being of a homeless individual can call the 24-hour Homeless Information Line at 240-907-2688. Outreach partners will attempt to locate the individual and offer resources and support.

“The Montgomery County Police Animal Services Division reminds community members to be especially careful with all pets during times of increased heat. Animals that are outdoors must have access to shade, shelter, and plenty of fresh water. When possible, it is advised to bring typically outdoor pets inside during periods of extreme heat. 

“The Director of the Montgomery County Police Animal Services Division, Thomas Koenig, will be enforcing Executive Regulation 17-17, Anti-Cruelty Conditions for Dogs, Section D, which states, “In the event of an extreme weather situation or weather emergency, owners must not leave a pet unattended outdoors.  Under Executive Regulations 17-17,  the Director of the Montgomery County Police Department, Animal Services Division, has the authority to enforce Anti Cruelty Conditions for Dogs and Other Pets.  Pet owners are advised to be particularly careful with pets in vehicles during high outdoor temperatures and be familiar with the signs of heat stress.  The penalty for this violation is a fine of $500. This regulation will be enforced whenever forecast temperatures could endanger the well-being of dogs. Also in Executive Regulation 17-17, Owners are advised not to leave pets unattended outdoors during Hyperthermia Alerts.”

OEMHS offers the following tips for beating the heat:

Before periods of extreme and excessive heat:

  • Check your air conditioning to ensure it is in good, working condition.
  • Use attic air conditioning units to clear the hot air.
  • Weatherstrip doors and window sills to keep cool air in.
  • Find places in/near your community where you can get cool, such as libraries, senior centers, recreation centers, and shopping malls. 
  • Learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illness (see below).

During periods of extreme and excessive heat:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, such as water and fruit juice, to prevent dehydration. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and overly sweetened beverages.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes.
  • Avoid direct sunlight by staying in the shade and wear sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas when possible. If your home is not air-conditioned, consider a visit to County facilities or a shopping center during regular business hours, or visiting with family or friends who have air conditioning. 
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but will not prevent heat-related illnesses on very hot days.
  • Always check your backseat for children, pets, and vulnerable adults before exiting your vehicle. Never leave children, adults, and pets alone inside a vehicle on a warm day, even with the window cracked. Temperatures inside vehicles can become dangerous quickly.
  • Take it easy when outdoors. Athletes and those who work outdoors should take short breaks in a shaded, cool area when feeling fatigued. Schedule physical activity during the morning or evening when it is cooler.
  • Take pets for a walk in the morning or evening when it is cooler. If the sidewalk is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws.
  • Check on friends, family, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness. 

Understand the illnesses associated with extreme and excessive heat: 

Heat Cramps

  • Signs: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs
  • Actions: Go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if cramps last more than an hour.

Heat Exhaustion

  • Signs: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, or fainting
  • Actions: Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.

Heat Stroke

  • Signs: Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) taken orally; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; or unconsciousness
  • Actions: Call 911 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.

Graphics courtesy Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS)

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