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Home    Emergency & Trauma    Trauma Services    Safety & Injury Prevention    Excessive Heat Safety
Excessive Heat Safety

The National Weather Service statistical data shows that heat causes more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Follow these tips to stay safe when the temperatures rise.

Slow down.
Reduce, eliminate or rescheduled strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day.

Dress for summer.
Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.

Put less fuel on your inner fires.
Foods, like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production, also increase water loss. Eat small meals and eat more often.

Drink plenty of water or other non-alcohol or decaffeinated fluids.
Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. People who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.

Spend more time in air-conditioned places.
Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day. The following cooling centers may be open as needed in Springfield to provide air-conditioned facilities and relief from the heat:

  • American Red Cross, 1545 N. West Bypass
  • Salvation Army, 1707 W. Chestnut Expressway
  • YMCA, 1901 E. Republic Road
  • YMCA, 417 S. Jefferson

Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes.

Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household.
Have a plan for wherever you spend time - home, work and school - and prepare for the possibility of power outages.

Check the contents of your emergency preparedness kit in case a power outage occurs.

Know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young, sick or overweight.
They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.

Be aware that people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than are people living in rural areas.

Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.

Ensure that your animals' needs for water and shade are met. 
Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.

Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles. 

Common signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses are:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Growing pale               
  • Fatigue
  • Exhaustion or weakness

If you are someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, seek relief from heat. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention.

From the National Weather Service, the American Red Cross and the Springfield-Greene County Health Department


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