Be careful in the summer heat

Published 11:22 am Monday, July 2, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

It seems like it eventually happens every year in Alabama, but I think the triple-digit temperatures have swept into the area a little earlier than normal this summer.

If you’ve taken a step outside at any point during the past several days, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about — it’s hard to not be drenched in sweat within a few minutes of being outside.

But while it is little more than an inconvenience and a higher air conditioning bill for many of us, we all need to remember that a lot of folks — even here in our own backyards — are in great danger during this heat wave.

With the economy the way it is, some people do not have enough money to even keep the air conditioner running during the heat of the day. Constant exposure to heat indexes well north of the 100-degree mark can be fatal.

Many cities are offering programs aimed at helping out those in need during this heat wave, whether it be cooling stations or a way to get city officials to ride by and check on the welfare of someone who could be at risk.

No matter where you live, if you think someone may be in trouble during the heat, don’t hesitate to call 911 immediately — it’s better to be safe than to risk something awful happening.

You can never be too careful during weather like this. Remember that before you leave your pet or child in a hot car in the parking lot or plan any kind of strenuous outdoor activities.

If it involves doing heavy work outside and it can wait until the temperatures dip a little bit, put it off if at all possible, or at least wait until the late afternoon and evening hours.

If you do have to work outside, be sure to drink plenty of water. Drink more water than you think you will need, because dehydration can sneak up on you.

Hopefully, the temperatures will start to drop a little bit in the next few weeks. Until then, be sure to give the weather the respect it deserves.

Neal Wagner is the city editor for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached by email at