While many people look forward to warmer temperatures during the summer months, it’s also important to remember that hot conditions can turn dangerous quickly. That’s why Gov. Scott Walker has declared June 6 as Heat Awareness Day in Wisconsin.
In the last five years, 39 people have died in Wisconsin and thousands of residents have fallen ill or even been hospitalized due to heat-related conditions. Nationwide there are an average of 618 deaths in the U.S. each year caused by extreme heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Many victims of heat-related deaths are socially isolated, maintaining little contact with family and friends.
“We all need to be aware of this threat and seek to mitigate its impact on those who are at greatest risk,” said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general and Wisconsin’s Homeland Security advisor.
It is important to check in on family, friends, and neighbors during extreme heat. Those most vulnerable include very young children, the elderly, and people with heart disease or high blood pressure. Individuals who are overweight or on certain medications may also be more susceptible to illnesses during extreme heat events.
The inside of a car can be especially dangerous during extreme heat, with temperatures inside a vehicle able to climb very quickly — as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes. Never leave a child or pet inside a parked car. Leaving a window cracked is not sufficient.
Tips for staying safe during extreme heat:
- Stay cool — Remain inside air-conditioned buildings as much as possible and avoid direct sunlight.
- Stay hydrated — Drink plenty of water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink!
- Stay informed — Pay attention to local weather forecasts and extreme heat alerts.