Hampton Roads and many regions around the country are experiencing a heat wave.
Meteorologists are reporting temperatures hovering in the mid-to-high 90s and are trying to predict when the heat wave will end. According to the encyclopedia of everything in the world –Wikipedia, a heat wave is defined as a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity, especially in oceanic climate countries. A heat wave is measured relative to the usual weather in the area and relative to normal temperatures for the season. Severe heat waves have caused catastrophic crop failures, thousands of deaths from hyperthermia, and widespread power outages due to increased use of air conditioning. A heat wave is considered extreme weather, and a danger because heat and sunlight may overheat the human body. Yep, this is another article on preparedness.
For people who work outdoors, working in extreme heat can be dangerous. Protect yourself from the heat and watch for symptoms of hyperthermia. Heat waves kill more people per year in the U.S. on average than any other single weather event. When extreme heat threatens the area, take these precautions:
- Drink plenty of water (even if you’re not thirsty)
- Take frequent rest breaks
- Cool down frequently
- Wear light-weight, loose fitting clothing
- Wear light-colored clothing (reflect heat and sunlight)
If you begin to experience any of the following signs or symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:
- Sunburn – severe redness and pain on the skin
- Dehydration – fatigue and reduced output of bodily secretions
- Heat cramps – painful muscle spasms
- Heat rash – inflamed itchy skin (blocked sweat ducts)
- Heat exhaustion – physical exhaustion caused by overheating of the body
- Heat stroke – body reaches 104 degrees due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures
If possible, postpone strenuous activities until the coolest times of the day.
Hampton Roads is in the second month the Atlantic hurricane season, so we have to contend with the impact of extreme heat and the possibility of a hurricane developing. Now is the time to get yourself and your family ready for any impending severe weather. Make sure your family has a plan in case of an emergency. Before an inclement weather event, sit down together and decide how you will connect with each other, where you will go and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of your plan in your emergency supply kit or some other place you can access in the event of a disaster. Faculty, staff and students at Norfolk State should sign up for NSU Alerts so that they can receive notification of severe weather and other types of campus emergencies.
For more information on emergency and disaster planning, call your city’s office of emergency management or visit ReadyVA.gov.