NORTON, MA — Rhode Island is in the middle of a three-day heat wave with a heat advisory, hazardous weather outlook and air quality warning in effect through Wednesday night as temperatures rise to 92, and a heat index of 101, according to the National Weather Service.
A heat index figure, according to the NWS, refers to the discomfort felt as a result of heat and humidity. The heat advisory is in effect for northern Connecticut, central, eastern, northeastern, southeastern and western Massachusetts and northern Rhode Island.
The NWS warns the heat index may cause heat illnesses throughout the areas.
Heat illness prevention
Given the extreme temperatures expected through the next two days, the NWS offered the public advice on avoiding heat illnesses:
Tips: Beat the heat
To limit the risk of falling victim to the heat, the NWS and the RI Department of Health recommend:
- When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Drink more fluids than usual, and don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink more fluids. Avoid alcohol or liquids that contain high amounts of sugar.
- Check on friends and neighbors, particularly older adults and those who are caring for young children.
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If you don’t have air conditioning at home, see the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA)’s list of municipal cooling centers in Rhode Island.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Add a hat if you must be outside.
- Limit outdoor activities, especially at mid-day. If you exercise outdoors, move your workout to a morning or evening time.
- If you work outside, wear sunscreen, pace your activity, stay hydrated, and check on co-workers.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down, particularly if you’re unable to be in an air-conditioned location.
- Avoid turning on your oven, if possible. It will make your house hotter.
- Never leave young children or pets in parked cars, even with the windows down.
- If you have special healthcare needs, consider enrolling in the Rhode Island Special Needs Emergency Registry (RISNER). Enrolling in RISNER lets police, fire, and other first responders in your community better prepare for and respond to your needs during an emergency. When enrolling in the registry, a person provides information about their healthcare needs (for example, information about mobility issues, information about a visual or hearing impairment, information about the use of a life support system, such as a respirator). For more information or to enroll, visit health.ri.gov/emregistry or call 211/RI Relay 711.
- When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
- Wear light-weight and loose fitting clothing.
- During outdoor work, take frequent breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments.
- Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency, call 911.
Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke
Heat Exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, or clammy skin; a fast or weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; and fainting.
Move to a cooler location, lie down, loosen clothing, sip water, and apply cool, wet cloths to help cool the body down. Seek medical attention if vomiting begins, or if symptoms get worse or last longer than one hour.
Heat Stroke symptoms include high body temperature (above 103 degrees F) combined with hot, red, dry, or moist skin; rapid and strong pulse; confusion; and loss of consciousness.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. 911 should be called immediately. Individuals experiencing heat stroke symptoms should also be moved to a cooler environment. Apply cool cloths or place the person into a cool bath to lower body temperature. Fans and ice packs can also be used to cool someone. Ice packs should be placed on the neck, under the armpit, or in the groin area (because these are the areas where large arteries are closest to the surface of the skin).
Working in the heat? Here’s an app for that.
When you’re working in the heat, safety is a life saver. The free OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool, available for Android and Iphone, offers safety information available on your mobile phone.
The App allows workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their worksite, and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level to outdoor workers. Then, with a simple “click,” you can get reminders about the protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to protect workers from heat-related illness-reminders about drinking enough fluids, scheduling rest breaks, planning for and knowing what to do in an emergency, adjusting work operations, gradually building up the workload for new workers, training on heat illness signs and symptoms, and monitoring each other for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
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