Annapolis Prepares for Extreme Heat This Summer
Code Red Heat Alert Plan updated for the 2013 season
Annapolis, Md. (5-24-13) The National Weather Service has proclaimed today, May 24, as Heat Awareness Day. Despite the cooler temperatures, Mayor Joshua J. Cohen wants residents to be prepared for hot weather and announced that the City of Annapolis has updated its Code Red Heat Alert (CRHA) Plan for the 2013 season.
According to the CRHA Plan, when the National Weather Service issues a Heat Advisory or an Excessive Heat Warning, the City may open the Roger “Pip” Moyer Community Recreation Center at Truxtun Park (273 Hilltop Lane) as a daytime cooling center. The cooling center will provide water and a place for the public to cool off and avoid the heat.
Annapolis also encourages the public to visit local malls, libraries, and other public places to stay cool during dangerously hot weather. For more information on the CRHA Plan, call the City’s Office of Emergency Preparedness & Risk Management at 410-216-9167.
The mayor requests that residents check on family members and neighbors who live without air conditioning during periods of extremely hot weather. According to the Centers for Disease Control, individuals 65 years and older, infants, children, and people with chronic medical conditions are more prone to heat stress.
Fire Chief David L. Stokes Sr. warns residents to be aware of the problems that accompany extreme heat, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. He said that crews usually experience an increase in medical calls during extended periods of hot weather.
“Heat-related illnesses are preventable,” Chief Stokes said. “The important thing is to stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of water. It’s also important to be sensible about how much you exert yourself in hot weather. The hotter and more humid it is, the harder the body has to fight to cool itself.”
The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn't enough. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs.
Symptoms of heat-related illness:
- Heat cramps are muscle contractions that are related to excessive heat and dehydration
- Heat exhaustion is also a result of excessive heat and dehydration. The signs of heat exhaustion are paleness, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting, fainting and increased temperature
- Heatstroke is the most severe form of heat illness. Victims have warm, flushed skin and do not sweat. This is considered a critical medical emergency. These patients must have their temperature reduced quickly and taken directly to the hospital.
The Centers for Disease Control offer guidance on extreme heat:
Please also be advised:
- Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. During conditions of extreme heat, spend time in locations with air-conditioning such as shopping malls, public libraries, or public health sponsored heat-relief shelters in your area.
- Get informed. Listen to local news and weather channels or contact your local public health department during extreme heat conditions for health and safety updates.
- Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages and increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.
- If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink during hot weather.
- Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol, or large amounts of sugar. These actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
- Replace salt and minerals. Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
The following City Departments and County agencies work together to support cooling center operations:
- Annapolis Office of Emergency Preparedness & Risk Management
- Annapolis Department of Recreation & Parks
- Annapolis Fire Department
- Annapolis Police Department
- Annapolis Department of Transportation
- Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities
- Anne Arundel County Department of Health
- Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services
- Salvation Army