Despite lingering triple-digit temperatures, no heat related illnesses have been reported in Southwest Johnson County, according to Rob Kirk, deputy chief for Johnson County Fire District 1.
“That is a very good thing,” Kirk said.
But residents should still take precautions for themselves, elderly family members and pets until the heat wave subsides as the heat wave is expected to extend for at least the remainder of the month.
Kirk said “hydration is key” and that persons who work outdoors are advised to work earlier in the day before temperatures spike.
Those without air conditioning can find relief at Johnson County Library branches in Gardner, Edgerton and Spring Hill.
Each library branch has been designated a “cooling center” during times of extreme heat.
The city of Edgerton is also opening the doors of city hall to those wanting to take a break from the dangerously high temperatures.
“We are going to open the building up to people who need to cool off,” said Janeice Rawles, Edgerton city clerk. “If the building is open all day and it is hot, why not? Our library is not open full time. We just thought we should offer our citizens another alternative during business hours. We take care of our own. We love our community, and we love our citizens.”
The city of Gardner is distributing free electric fans to older residents or those with medical frailties. The fans were donated to the city by the CenturyLink Gardner Data Center and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
According to the Johnson County Health Department, those most vulnerable to extreme heat include: persons aged 65 or older; those taking certain medications, including narcotics, sedatives, and diuretics; toddlers left in cars and infants less than one year old; athletes who are not used to working out in warm environments; people who work outside; and those who have mental or physical illnesses, especially heart disease or high blood pressure.
The health department recommends taking the following precautions to avoid heat related illness:
• Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic), regardless of activity level. Those with restrictions related to fluid intake should check with a doctor.
• Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help the body stay cooler in the heat.
• Electric fans may provide comfort, but when temperatures are in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
• Exercise in an air-conditioned place and drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals lost in sweat.
• When outdoors, try to rest often in shady areas.
• Protect against the sun by wearing a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
Extreme heat is also dangerous for household pets. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recommends the following to protect animals:
Never leave a dog in a parked car. When the outside temperature is 90 degrees, the interior of a vehicle can reach 160 degrees.
Dogs should be walked only during cool mornings or evenings. Exercise should not be forced during hot weather. Also, during long walks, allow dogs to rest often and drink plenty of water. Avoid hot pavement that can burn a dog’s paws. Instead, walk on grassy areas.
Dogs with thick, heavy coats should be trimmed to an inch to provide heat relief and to protect against insects and sunburn.
Dogs should be kept indoors. If they most stay outside for any length of time, the hottest part of the day should be avoided.
It is a good idea to provide shade, water and a kiddie pool for dogs. Be sure to anchor drinking water containers so they won’t tip over.
Provide shade, water, and a kiddie pool. Keep drinking water in an anchored bucket or a heavy bowl that won’t tip over.
Persons who see dogs chained up or distressed by the heat are advised to provide the animal with water and contact law enforcement authorities.
Heat wave blankets area, residents urged to take precautions