The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the State Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service are promoting Missouri Summer Safety Week (June 18-24) to highlight the risks and dangers associated with excessive heat.
Missourians can find a public cooling center near them by visiting health.mo.gov. Users can simply enter a ZIP code, city or county to find a cooling center nearby.
“Summer heat, like any other weather concern, brings its own set of dangers for which we need to be prepared,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “Taking simple precautions like wearing sunscreen, staying hydrated and taking frequent breaks from the heat will go a long way towards making sure you have a happy and healthy summer.
“Additionally, we must be vigilant of the grave dangers heat can pose to the elderly, children and pets. Reach out to your older neighbors who might be isolated and without air conditioning. And please, never ever leave a pet or child in a car.”
In 2016, the Department of Health and Senior Services reported 25 heat-related deaths in Missouri.
Remember these basic tips to protect you and your family during severe heat and heat emergencies:
• Check on those who do not have air conditioning and may spend much of their time alone.
• Never leave children or pets alone in a vehicle.
• Eat light, well-balanced meals at regular intervals.
• Drink plenty of water and limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
• Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
• Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Wear sunscreen.
• Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day; use the buddy system when working in extreme heat and take frequent breaks.
• If you do not have air conditioning, consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls and other community facilities.
• Be aware of medications that may impair the body’s response to heat, including antihistamines, tranquilizers and some medications for heart disease.
Missourians should call the state’s toll-free abuse and neglect hotline at (800) 392-0210 to report senior citizens or adults with disabilities suffering from the heat and needing assistance. The hotline operates 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. seven days a week.