Find out how to join us and stay safe this summer!
It may not be official yet, but summer has definitely arrived. Some communities and states have issued excessive heat warnings, urging people to stay hydrated and safe. In response to warnings in Arizona during the first weeks of June, The Salvation Army of Phoenix Valley deployed its Red Shield Survival Squad with 14 heat relief stations throughout the area.
Heat relief stations offer bottled water and air-conditioned refuge from dangerous temperatures. Each station is strategically placed to maximize effectiveness and prevent disaster.
The National Weather Service (NWS) generally defines excessive heat as temperatures exceeding 105° Fahrenheit for at least two days, and temperatures not dropping below 75° Fahrenheit during the night.
Such temperatures can cause dehydration, severe illnesses or even heat stroke, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.”
During what will be another blistering summer, we’re encouraging everyone to donate bottled water to their local Salvation Army unit, volunteer to help out, follow the tips below and join us to beat the heat!
The best defense is prevention. Here are some prevention tips:
Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask your doctor how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar – these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library – even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.
Check regularly on:
Infants and young children
People aged 65 or older
People who have a mental illness
Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.
If you must be out in the heat:
Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
Try to rest often in shady areas.
Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).
To find your local Salvation Army, volunteer, donate and ask about heat relief stations, click here.
To get involved in Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services, locate your area director here.
To learn more about staying safe in extreme heat, click here.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Approximately 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. Eighty-two cents of every dollar donated to The Salvation Army are used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). For more information, go to salvationarmyusa.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.