June is Summer Safety
Summer Heat Safety Tips
As the hot days of summer approach, the Office of the Fire Commissioner reminds Albertans of the following summer safety tips.
HOT CARS CAN BE DEADLY Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 50 degrees Celsius.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
- Slow down and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
- Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks when working or playing outdoors.
- Check on family, friends and neighbours who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
- Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.
Heat-related emergencies occur when the body becomes dehydrated, which may result in an increased body temperature. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke, can happen to anyone who stays in the summer heat and sun for too long.
Young children, the elderly, those with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, and those taking certain medications can become ill in hot, humid weather faster than healthy adults will.
It is important for everyone enjoying the outdoors to know how to prevent heat emergencies, recognize signs and symptoms of heat-related emergencies, and be able to provide help when needed.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Emergencies
- Cramps or muscle tightening, usually in the legs and abdomen but they can be in other parts of the body
- Dizziness, weakness, and feeling faint
- Skin that is redder or paler than usual, or moist skin
- Rapid shallow breathing
- Irritable, bizarre, or aggressive behavior
How to Help
- Move the person to a cooler location
- Give the person cool water to drink in sips
- Have the person loosen any tight clothing
- Fan the person
- Put cool water on the person’s skin
- If the person’s condition is severe, put covered ice packs in each armpit and on the back of the person’s neck
- Call for help (EMS/9-1-1)
When you are hot you sweat more than normal, so you need to drink more to replace the water your body is losing. Drink plenty of cool fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty, but avoid caffeine and alcohol. They can cause dehydration, which stops your body from controlling its temperature properly.
Preventing Heat-Related Emergencies
- Drink plenty of cool fluids — this is the most important step you can take.
- Avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day.
- Know the humidex rating — it combines the temperature and humidity to indicate how hot, humid weather feels to the average person.
- Wear light, loose clothing to let air circulate and heat escape and always wear a hat.
- Apply sunscreen (with SPF 15 or higher) as sunburned skin reduces the body’s ability to cool itself.
- Slow down your activities as it gets hotter and don’t work, exercise, or play for too long at a time.
- Take breaks in a cool or shady area to let your body cool off. This will help if you do need to be outside when it is really hot.
Additional Summer Safety Tips
Stay cool in the heat: Keep cool and hydrated and minimize your time in the sun between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Drink plenty of water, find shade, visit cool buildings, slow down, bathe in cool water and wear light-colored clothing. Never leave children or pets inside a parked vehicle. When the outside air temperature is 23°C/73°F, the temperature inside a vehicle can be extremely dangerous – more than 50°C/122°F. More sun safety tips here
When thunder roars, go indoors: Stay inside for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you can get hit by lightning. Take shelter immediately in a sturdy, fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing. If no solid building is available, you can take shelter in a metal-roofed vehicle. Read more about severe summer weather.
Stay safe while camping: If strong winds, hail or a tornado is developing while you are camping in a tent or tent-trailer, move to the closest building or a hard-topped vehicle. Make every effort to get to a suitable shelter. If no shelter is available, seek refuge deep in a thick stand of trees in the lowest-lying area. Environment Canada has more summer weather safety tips.
Avoid the bugs – and their bite: Avoid being outdoors at dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. Keep in mind that ticks are often found along trail edges, mostly in wooded areas or tall grass. Light-colored clothing is less attractive to mosquitoes and allows you to see ticks more easily. Registered insect repellents containing DEET can be used safely when applied as directed. Health Canada's last review of DEET products was supported by the Canadian Paediatric Society.
Pack an emergency kit: You may have some kit items already, such as a flashlight, a wind-up radio, food, water and a manual can opener. Make sure they are organized and easy to find in case you need to evacuate your home. Make a kit to go in a backpack. Whatever you do, don't wait until a disaster is happening to make a kit. Check out how to put together an emergency kit.
Keep food fresh: Chilling food properly is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of food-borne illness. Leftovers should be chilled promptly, but remember to throw them away if they have been out at room temperature for more than two (2) hours. Keep the fridge at 4?C (40?F) or below and use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature. Check out these food safety tips for leftovers.
Make a (safe) splash: Never leave a child unattended in water, not even for a second. Pick the best time of the day to swim and avoid swimming at night and in stormy weather. The Canadian Red Cross offers tips for all kinds of water activities such as water parks, backyard pools and hot tubs.
Stay safe on the roads: Canada has nearly 900,000 kilometers of road — enough to circle the globe 22 times! Transport Canada is our resource on road safety, especially when travelling with children. Every year in Canada, about 10,000 children (from infants to 12-year olds) are hurt or killed on the roads. Make sure your children are always buckled-up properly while in the car, even for short trips. And remember, the back seat is always the safest place for your children.