The county’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security issued a Heat Emergency Alert that will begin at noon today, Aug. 11, and continue through 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12.

A Heat Emergency Alert, a step above Tuesday’s Hyperthermia Alert, means that the heat index is forecast to be 105° F or higher. In addition to affecting the ability to regulate body temperature, heat may affect air quality and have a stronger impact on the elderly, children and sick people.

“The heat index over the next several days will be dangerous,” Marianne Souders, Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security acting director, said in a press release.

“We encourage residents to take precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones and keep a check on elderly friends, relatives and neighbors to ensure they are not showing signs of heat-related illnesses.”

County facilities, including libraries, pools, recreation, senior centers and regional service centers may be used for people to cool off during normal operating hours.

In addition, the county’s Office of Animal Services will enforce Executive Regulations 17-17, Anti-Cruelty Conditions for Dogs and Other Pets during this heat emergency.

Pet owners must not leave pets unattended in vehicles or outdoors; violators risk a fine for any offense.

The county has published an online list of warning signs of heat-related illness such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion, as well as tips for coping with high temperatures.