With excessive temperatures and humidity forecast through Wednesday, June 14, County officials are urging residents to take precautions to protect themselves, and their pets, against heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Residents are also asked to check on elderly friends, relatives and neighbors who may be isolated to be sure they are not showing signs of heat-related illnesses. County facilities, including libraries, swimming pools, recreation and senior centers, as well as regional services centers, will be open and may provide respite from the heat.
"Summer heat can be dangerous, especially for seniors and those with chronic illnesses," said acting County Health Officer Uma Ahluwalia. "It is important for all of us to check on our friends, relatives and neighbors to make sure they are safe during extreme temperatures".
The Montgomery County Police Animal Services Division also wants to remind community members to be especially careful with all pets during times of increased heat. Animals that are outdoors must have access to shade, shelter, and plenty of fresh water.
The following precautions will help residents remain safe and comfortable during excessive heat days:
• Stay indoors, whenever possible. Visit nearby air conditioned buildings in your community if your home is not air-conditioned. In addition to County facilities, residents can visit shopping malls, movie theaters and museums. A hyperthermia plan for homeless shelters has been activated and shelters that are normally closed during daytime hours will remain open so that individuals can stay indoors. Progress Place in downtown Silver Spring will remain open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for all homeless individuals.
• Be careful to avoid strenuous activities that can result in overexposure to the sun, such as sports and gardening. If you must do a strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning before 9:00 am.
• Drink plenty of water. Dehydration, cramps, exhaustion or heat stroke can result from not drinking enough fluids. Water is the safest liquid to drink.
• Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.
• When outdoors, wear proper protection from the sun. Light-colored clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen protection are recommended.
• Never leave pets or young children in a car for ANY amount of time, even with the window open, because the temperature inside parked cars can reach 130 degrees in only a few minutes.
• Monitor those at high risk. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
o Infants and children up to four years of age;
o Individuals 65 years of age and older;
o Individuals who are ill or on certain medications; and
o Individuals who are overweight.
Knowing the signs of heat exposure can prevent serious illness from becoming life threatening. Should any of the following occur, get out of the heat, loosen any tight or heavy clothing, and drink plenty of water:
• Heat cramps: symptoms include painful muscle spasms, usually involving the abdominal muscles or legs;
• Heat exhaustion: first signs are cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, dizziness, nausea, headache and weakness; and
• Heat stroke: the most serious sign of overexposure. Symptoms include red, hot, dry skin, weak pulse, rapid breathing and changes in consciousness.
Seek medical attention by calling 9-1-1.
• Pet Safety: The Director of the Montgomery County Police Animal Services Division, Thomas Koenig, will be enforcing Executive Regulation 10-10AM, Anti-Cruelty Conditions for Dogs, Section 11-D, which states, "A person must not tether a dog under circumstances that endanger its health, safety, or well-being, including: unattended tethering of a dog during a weather emergency." The penalty for this violation is a fine of $500. This regulation will be enforced whenever forecast temperatures could endanger the well-being of dogs.
For general information about County programs and services, call 3-1-1. Sign up for the County's Alert Montgomery notification system at alert.montgomerycountymd.gov to receive emergency alerts regarding weather and other emergency information.