Salem, Ore – August 13, 2020 – High temperatures and low humidity are forecasted across the state this weekend, bringing concerns about heat-related illnesses and wildfire activity.
Heat-related illness is a serious threat, especially for elderly, youth, those without air conditioning, and those working or exercising outdoors. Helpful tips for heat safety include:
• Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of a car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
• Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
• Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
• If you’re out on the water to stay cool, be sure to wear a life jacket and wear sunscreen.
• Stay hydrated, drink water, and avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
• Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
• Even in high heat, face coverings are important in times of COVID-19. Be sure to wear one inside or outside when you cannot maintain a 6 ft. distance from others.
• The American Red Cross Heat Wave Safety sheet (https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/heat-wave-safety.html) provides additional guidance on what to do before and during extreme heat, and how to treat heat-related illnesses.
Current weather conditions can also create or exacerbate wildfire activity. During these times, common everyday activities such as mowing the lawn or pulling your vehicle off to the side of the road may start a wildfire. Here are some good wildfire safety tips to review:
• Do not mow when it’s windy or excessively dry; lawn mowers are designed to cut lawn, not weeds or dry grass. Metal blades striking rocks can create sparks and start a fire.
• Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained with nothing dragging on the road. Don’t drive on dry grass or brush since hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires.
• Carry a fire extinguisher in your vehicle and learn how to use it.
• Smoke levels can vary dramatically during wildfires and also causes additional complications with the COVID-19 pandemic. For comprehensive information about smoke conditions in your area, visit http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.
• Ready.gov offers additional guidance on staying safe when a wildfire threatens(https://www.ready.gov/wildfires).
“Know your risks and be prepared for them,” says OEM Director Andrew Phelps. “Make sure to have a ‘go-kit,’ register for emergency notification systems in your community, and make a plan where your family will go and how you will stay in contact if evacuated. OEM’s 2 Weeks Ready initiative offers a real way each of us can help ourselves and our communities prepare for drastic conditions and other emergencies.”