Homeland security offers heat safety tips for Upshur County residents

BUCKHANNON — The Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has provided crucial tips on staying safe during excessive heat events. With temperatures soaring, the department offered guidance on social media about minimizing risks for all residents, particularly vulnerable groups.

Residents are advised to slow down and reschedule strenuous outdoor activities to the coolest parts of the day. Vulnerable populations, including children, infants, older adults, individuals with preexisting conditions, and pregnant women, should seek the coolest available place, which may not always be indoors.

Wearing light, loose-fitting, and light-colored clothing can help reflect heat and sunlight, reducing direct exposure to the sun. Sunburn can hinder the body’s ability to dissipate heat, so minimizing sun exposure is crucial.

For dietary tips, residents are encouraged to consume light and easy-to-digest foods like fruits and salads. For those packing food, it’s essential to use coolers or ice packs to prevent spoilage. Drinking plenty of water and non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids is crucial, even if not feeling thirsty. Individuals on fluid-restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their fluid intake. Salt tablets should only be taken if specified by a physician.

Staying cool is also emphasized. Residents should use air conditioners or spend time in air-conditioned places like stores and libraries. Portable electric fans can help, but should not be directed at oneself when room temperatures exceed 90°F. This can cause faster dehydration.

Taking cool baths or showers can also help alleviate the effects of heat. Additionally, it’s essential to check on older, sick, or frail individuals who may need assistance coping with the heat.

Each year, numerous children, pets, and vulnerable adults suffer from hyperthermia after being left in hot cars. Residents are urged to ensure their safety during heat waves and to avoid leaving electronic equipment such as cell phones and GPS units in parked vehicles.

By following these guidelines, residents of Buckhannon and surrounding areas can better safeguard themselves and their loved ones during extreme heat conditions.

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