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WARM WEATHER SAFETY

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Surviving the Heat


Did You Know! Heat illness most seriously affects the poor, urban-dwellers, young children, those with chronic physical and mental illnesses, substance abusers, the elderly, and people who engage in excessive physical activity under harsh conditions.

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By definition the Heat Index (HI) is an index that combines air temperature and relative humidity in an attempt to determine the human-perceived equivalent temperature, or rather how hot it feels, termed the felt air temperature. The human body normally cools itself by perspiration, or sweating, which evaporates and carries heat away from the body. However, when the relative humidity is high, the evaporation rate is reduced, so heat is removed from the body at a lower rate causing it to retain more heat than it would in dry air. Measurements have been taken based on subjective descriptions of how hot subjects feel for a given temperature and humidity, allowing an index to be made which corresponds a temperature and humidity combination to a higher temperature in drier air.

80–90 °F

Caution — fatigue is possible with prolonged exposure and activity.

  • Hyperthermia occurs when the body produces and/or absorbs more heat than it can disperse, usually due to excessive exposure to heat. As a result, the body eventually becomes overwhelmed and unable to effectively deal with the heat, resulting in the body temperature climbing uncontrollably. Hyperthermia is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
  • Possible Symptoms:  Confusion, hostility, headache, intoxicated appearance, significant drop in blood pressure, dehydration, possible fainting/dizziness, accelerated heart rate and respiration rate, skin becoming red possibly turning to a pale or bluish skin color, feeling hot followed by chills and trembling (like a fever), some victims, especially young children, may suffer convulsions. Nausea and vomiting, temporary blindness may also be observed, unconsciousness.
  • Continuing activity could result in heat cramps

90–105 °F

Extreme caution — heat cramps, and heat exhaustion are possible.

  • Heat Cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body's salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.
  • Possible Symptoms: Muscle pains or spasms (usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs - that may occur in association with strenuous activity)
  • Continuing activity could result in heat exhaustion.

105–130 °F

Danger — heat cramps, and heat exhaustion are likely.

  • Heat Exhaustion often occurs when people exercise (work or play) in a hot, humid place and body fluids are lost through sweating, causing the body to overheat.
  • Possible Symptoms: The person's temperature may be elevated, usually more than 100°F but not above 104°F, often pale with cool, moist skin,sweating profusely, muscle cramps or pains, feeling faint or dizzy, headache, weakness, nausea, increased pulse rate
  • Heat stroke is probable with continued activity.

over 130 °F

Extreme danger — heat stroke is imminent

  • Heat Stroke/Sunstroke is life-threatening and results when a person's cooling system controlled by the brain stops working and their internal body temperature rises to the point where brain damage or damage to other internal organs may result. Heat stroke is a true medical emergency that can be fatal if not properly and promptly treated.
  • Symptoms: Unconsciousness or has an obvious abnormal mental status (dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, or coma), flushed, hot, and dry skin (although it may be moist initially from previous sweating or from attempts to cool the person with water), slightly elevated blood pressure at first that falls later, hyperventilating, core temperature of 105°F or more .

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In the Event of Extreme Heat:


Never leave your child or pet in the car alone!  


Child Vehicular Heat Stroke Fact Sheet


If you must be outside in hot weather:

  • Be aware that humidity and the presence of direct sunlight may cause the heat index to be 10 °C (18 °F) hotter than the temperature indicated by a thermometer.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (such as water and Gatorade), but avoid alcohol, coffee, and tea which may lead to dehydration
  • Take frequent breaks to hydrate yourself

If you think that someone is getting over heated help move them indoors or in the shade.  Use a fan, misting spray or cool compresses to help cool the skin.  Monitor the persons symptoms and when in doubt call for emergency help. 


DO NOT wrap the victim in wet towels or clothes as this can act as insulation and increase the body temperature.


DO NOT immerse someone in ice or cold water, this is dangerous and may cause vasoconstriction in the skin, preventing heat from escaping the body core. 

 

We would like to thank the following resources as their facts and records have aided in the completion of this section: www.webmd.com, www.medicinenet.com, www.wikipedia.org, www.adam.com. www.noaa.gov

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Flooding

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The Dangers:

  • Flash floods and floods are the #1 cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms with more than 140 deaths resulting each year.

  • Most flash flood fatalities occur at night

  • Most victims are people who become trapped in their cars

  • Six inches of fast moving water can knock a grown man off his feet

  • Two feet of fast moving water can cause a vehicle to float

In the Event of:

  • DO NOT LET CHILDREN PLAY NEAR STORM DRAINS!

  • Do Not walk, swim or drive through flood waters

  • If the water on the road looks high DO NOT attempt to cross. Many people get stuck thinking they can make it, and then need rescued.

  • Stay away from high water, storm drains, ditches, ravines, or culverts

  • If you come upon flood waters, stop, turn around and go another way.

  • If necessary, climb to higher ground

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Thunderstorms

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Facts:

  • Lightning occurs in all thunderstorms. It can occur from cloud-to-cloud, within a cloud, cloud-to-ground, or cloud-to-air
  • Each year lightning strikes the Earth 20 million times.
  • The energy from one lightning flash could light a 100-watt light bulb for more than 3 months
  • The air near a lightning strike is heated to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (hotter than the surface of the sun!)
  • The heating and cooling of the air near the lightning channel causes a shock wave that results in thunder.
  • Utility lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity
  • Many fires in the western United States and Alaska are started by lightning.
  • Count the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the next clap of thunder. Divide this number by 5 to determine the distance to the lightning in miles.
  • "Heat lightning" is a term used when a thunderstorm is too far away to hear the thunder.


Safety:

  • Lightning causes an average of 80 fatalities and 300 injuries each year.
  • Most lightning fatalities and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.
  • Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.

In the Event of:

  • Tune in to local weather and radio stations for up to date information on the storm.
  • If you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder, go indoors. Stay indoors for at least 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • Unplug appliances not necessary for obtaining weather information
  • Avoid using the telephone or any other electrical appliances unless it is an emergency
  • Do not take a bath or shower.
  • The rubber soles of shoes or rubber tires on a car DO NOT provide protection from lightning. If you have the ability to, move to a sturdy enclosed building. If one is not available, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal. Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside. Keep the windows up and try not to touch any metal.
  • DO NOT take shelter in small sheds or under isolated trees and stay away from tall objects such as towers, fences, telephone poles and power lines.
  • Find a low spot away from trees, fences and poles that is not subject to flooding.
  • If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.
  • Where ever you are, if you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground. DO NOT lie down.
  • Occasionally tornadoes develop so rapidly that advance warning is not possible. Remain alert for signs of an approaching tornado such as a dark, often greenish sky, large hail, or a loud roar that sounds similar to a freight train.

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Straight Line Winds

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Understanding:

  • The remnants of Hurricane Ike, that the central Ohio area experienced on September 14, 2008 were straight line winds. The sustained (continuous) winds on that date exceeded 70 mph in some parts of our area. The gusts well exceeded that speed.
  • Straight-line winds are responsible for most thunderstorm wind damage
  • Winds can exceed 100 mph
  • A downburst, a type of straight-line wind can cause damage
  • equivalent to a strong tornado.

Preparing: 

  • You want to prepare for straight-line winds the same way that you would for a tornado. Please see our tornado section!

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Hail Safety

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Hail Facts:


- What is Hail?

  • Strong rising currents of air within a storm, called updrafts, carry water droplets to a height where freezing occurs.
  • Ice particles grow in size, becoming too heavy to be supported by the updraft, and fall to the ground.

- Hail causes more than $1 billion in damage to property each year

- Hail can fall at speeds faster than 100 mph

- The larger the hail, the faster it will fall and the harder it will hit

In the Event of:

  • Seek shelter under a sturdy structure and stay away from windows if the hail is large
  • If you are in a vehicle and the hail is large enough it could break your windshield. Try to pull into a car wash or under an overpass to prevent injuries from broken glass.
  • Occasionally tornadoes develop so rapidly that advance warning is not possible. Remain alert if hail is accompanied by a dark greenish sky or a loud roar that sounds similar to a freight train.

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Tornado Safety


Did You Know?! The Average Time Between the (start of) Tornado Sirens Going Off and the time the Tornado Hits is 12 Minutes?!

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Understanding Tornadoes

  • Tornadoes may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms within the funnel.
  • The average tornado moves from southwest to northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph but may vary from nearly stationary to 70 mph.
  • The strongest tornadoes have rotating winds of more than 250 mph.
  • Tornadoes can occur at any time of the year.
  • Statistically, tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 and 9 p.m., but can happen at any time of the day.
  • Tornadoes take many shapes and sizes .

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Preparing For A Tornado 


Emergency Tornado Sirens help alert citizens  who are outside during the time a tornado warning is issued by the National Weather Service. The sirens are not intended to alert people indoors during a warning.  It is highly recommended that each residence, business, school and church purchase weather alert radios that are automatically activated during severe weather occurrences.

  • The Franklin County Outdoor Warning System consists of 157 sirens (7 more than last year). Sirens are tested Wednesday at 12:00 noon, weather permitting.  Sirens sound for 20 seconds, stop for 40 seconds, sound for 20 seconds, then stop completely.
  • If severe weather is forecast, or is observed in the area, the weekly test will be postponed until the next weekly noon test to avoid confusion.
  • The weekly tests are conducted to test the operation of the sirens and to familiarize the citizens with the sound of the siren, should a tornado ever strike.
  • The type of signal used for the test is a steady tone.

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Schools:
  • Each school should have a plan and should be inspected and shelter areas designated by a registered engineer or architect.
  • Lunches, assemblies and end of day releases should be delayed until the threatening weather passes.

Have a Plan at Home:


In the Event of A Tornado

  • REMEMBER: A Tornado Warning means that a Tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar! Take shelter immediately! Turn on a battery operated radio for further information.
  • If the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, the sirens will sound continuously for 3 minutes. The sirens will them silence for 7 minutes and again sound for 3 minutes. This cycle will continue throughout the warning time period. When the warning has expired or has been canceled, the sirens will silence.

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  • Occasionally tornadoes develop so rapidly that advance warning is not possible. Remain alert for signs of an approaching tornado such as a dark, often greenish sky, large hail, or a loud roar that sounds similar to a freight train.

In a home or building:

  • Move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement
  • If an underground shelter is not available, move to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside
  • DO NOT worry about opening windows, the most important action is to immediately go to a safe shelter.
  • Stay away from window, flying debris from tornadoes is the leading cause of fatalities and injuries.
Youtube video thumbnail

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  • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes. If you can safety leave your mobile home, go to the lowest floor of a sturdy nearby building or storm shelter.

If you are driving:

  • Seek the best available shelter, in a sturdy reinforced building if at all possible. Many people are injured or killed when remaining in their vehicles.
  • If a sturdy reinforced building is not available, overpasses, ditches, and culverts may provide limited protection.
  • Lie flat and cover your head with your hands, flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries

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Photographs of the 8/25/2007 Gahanna Tornado

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Recovering From A Storm

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  • The TBW will utilize our certified members of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), who are trained in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.
  • Contact Your Insurance Company - If you have insurance, your insurance company can help you secure temporary housing and get you set up with the finances needed to purchase clothing and other items needed to get you back on your feet.
  • FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers may also apply to our area.
  • Local American Red Cross - In the event that assistance from the American Red Cross is needed, this is their local information as it applies to 43068:

Ohio Buckeye Region

995 E Broad Street

Columbus, OH, 43205

Phone: (614) 253-2740

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Weather Information For This Page Has Been Gathered From the Following Sources:

Dealing with a Weather Emergency: Getting Back on Your Feet Financially - FTC

Advanced Weather Spotter’s Guide - NOAA

Basic Weather Spotter’s Guide – NOAA

Breathe Easier: Keeping You Informed, Simple Solutions to Improve Air Quality – CE&E

Children Displaced in Natural Disasters and Their Caregivers – NCMEC Tips designed to help child victims of natural disasters acclimate to a new environment and caregivers provide the best assistance possible

Coaches & Sports Official Guide to Lightning Safety - NOAA

Disaster Preparedness: A Check List – NCPC

Family Disaster Preparedness Guide (Brochure) – DOPS

Ohio Family Disaster Preparedness Guide – DOPS

Prevention At Work: Preparing for a Disaster – NCPC 

Safe Steps for Winter Weather - ARC

Storm Ready - NOAA

Thunderstorms… Tornadoes… Lightning… Nature’s Most Violent Storms - NOAA

Watch Out! Floods Ahead: Owlie Skywarn’s Weather Book – NOAA

Watch Out! Lightning Ahead: Owlie Skywarn’s Weather Book - NOAA

Watch Out! Tornadoes Ahead: Owlie Skywarn’s Weather Book - NOAA

Watch Out! Winter Storms Ahead: Owlie Skywarn’s Weather Book - NOAA