King County leaders offer tips for residents to beat heat

August 16, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 4 p.m. Aug. 16, 2012

King County leaders offered tips Thursday for residents to help residents cope as near-record temperatures broil the region.

Officials offered information for residents to remain safe in the high temperatures, prevent wildfires in the dry conditions and encourage safety on the water, as people seek relief in lakes and rivers.

King County is under a regional excessive heat warning. The alert means the region is in a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures, and the combination of heat and humidity can cause heat-related illnesses. The excessive heat warning is in effect until 11 p.m. Friday.

In Issaquah, temperatures exceeded 90 degrees Thursday and should top 90 again Friday.

“Our region is known for rain, not hot weather like this,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “Extreme heat can be dangerous, even deadly, so we are urging everyone to take precautions to keep cool and stay safe.”

Officials urged residents to check on elderly neighbors and relatives amid the heat.

Residents should also know the signs of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Overheating occurs if people cannot cool themselves fast enough. The condition can lead to symptoms of heat exhaustion, including muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting. Move a person showing signs of overheating to a cooler location, and ask him or her to rest for a few minutes and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if he or she does not feel better.

In severe instances, people can suffer heat stroke. The condition can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Symptoms of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature of 103 degrees or more; red, hot and dry skin; rapid, strong pulse; and nausea, confusion and unconsciousness.

Public Health – Seattle & King County also offers tips for residents to beat the heat in safety.

Health officials recommend for people seeking relief from high temperatures to visit air-conditioned places, such as public libraries, shopping malls or movie theaters.

Several cities in King County also opened cooling centers for people seeking relief from the heat.

In Issaquah, city officials monitor the community through the police department and other resources before making a decision to open a public cooling station.

Some people turn to local rivers and lakes to cool off, but drowning remains a concern.

People should use caution and wear a personal flotation device on the water. Officials also urged residents to visit a local pool or lifeguarded beach instead.

King County is under a burn ban through Sept. 1. In the meantime, hot and dry conditions continue to raise concerns about wildfire.

Residents can receive free technical assistance in identifying and mitigating wildfire risk. Contact the King County Forestry Program at 206-296-8042, linda.vane@kingcounty.gov or www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/forestry/forestfire.aspx.

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