Public Safety Education
- Child Safety Seat Installation Program
- Candle Safety Tips
- Child Passenger Safety
- Creating a Family Disaster Plan
- Creating a Family Disaster Kit
- Extreme Heat
- Babies & Toddlers
- Home Fire Safety Checklist
Child Safety Seat Installation Program
Did you know that according to national averages, approximately 4 out of every 5 child safety seats are installed incorrectly? These installation errors are grave enough to contribute or cause injury or death to your child in the event of an otherwise survivable crash. If used correctly, child safety seats are 71% effective in reducing deaths for infants in passenger cars and are 54% effective in reducing deaths for children ages 1 to 4.
Mehlville Fire Protection District's Child Safety Seat program allows Fire District residents to make an appointment to have their child safety seat checked. Our trained installers will check your child safety seat to ensure that it meets current standards and regulations. Installers will also give instructions on how to correctly install and use child safety seats for children of all ages.
To schedule an inspection, please call the District office at 314-894-0420 for an appointment.
Candle Safety Tips
Candles may be pretty to look at but they are a cause of home fires -- and home fire deaths. Remember, a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn.
- Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
- Think about using flameless candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles.
If you do burn candles, make sure that you...
- Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won't tip over easily.
- Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
- Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
- Don't burn a candle all the way down -- put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
- Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
- Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.
Religious candle safety
Lit candles are used in religious services, in places of worship, and in the home. Whether you are using one candle, or more than one on a candelabra, kinara, or menorah, make sure you take a few moments to learn about using candles safely.
- Candles should be placed in a sturdy candle holder.
- Handheld candles should not be passed from one person to another at any time.
- When lighting candles at a candle lighting service, have the person with the unlit candle dip their candle into the flame of the lit candle.
- Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire.
- Candles placed on, or near tables, altars, or shrines, must be watched by an adult.
- Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- If a candle must burn continuously, be sure it is enclosed in a glass container and placed in a sink, on a metal tray, or in a deep basin filled with water.
Reproduced from the National Fire Protection Association website, www.nfpa.org.
Child Passenger Safety: Fact Sheet
Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the United States.1 But many of these deaths can be prevented. Placing children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half.2
How big is the problem?
- In the United States during 2009, 1,314 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and approximately 179,000 were injured.2
- One CDC study found that, in one year, more than 618,000 children ages 0-12 rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat or booster seat or a seat belt at least some of the time.3
What are the risk factors?
- More than two-thirds of fatally injured children were killed while riding with a drinking driver.4
- Restraint use among young children often depends upon the driver's seat belt use. Almost 40% of children riding with unbelted drivers were themselves unrestrained.5
- Child restraint systems are often used incorrectly. One study found that 72% of nearly 3,500 observed car and booster seats were misused in a way that could be expected to increase a child's risk of injury during a crash.6
How can injuries to children in motor vehicles be prevented?
- Child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants, and by 54% for toddlers ages 1 to 4 years.2
- There is strong evidence that child safety seat laws, safety seat distribution and education programs, community-wide education and enforcement campaigns, and incentive-plus-education programs are effective in increasing child safety seat use.7
- According to researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, for children 4 to 7 years, booster seats reduce injury risk by 59% compared to seat belts alone.8
- Child passengers should never be seated in front of an airbag. Airbags can injure or kill children in a crash that might otherwise have been survivable.
Guidelines for Parents and Caregivers
Parents and caregivers can:
Use a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short. This sets a good example.
Make sure children are properly buckled up in a seat belt, booster seat, or car seat, whichever is appropriate for their age, height and weight.
Know the stages:
- Birth through Age 2 - Rear-facing child safety seat. For the best possible protection, infants and children should be kept in a rear-facing child safety seat, in the back seat buckled with the seat's harness, until they reach the upper weight or height limits of their particular seat. The weight and height limits on rear-facing child safety seats can accommodate most children through age 2, check the seat's owner's manual for details.
- Between Ages 2-4/Until 40 lbs - Forward-facing child safety seat. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (the weight and height limits on rear-facing car seats can accommodate most children through age 2) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat buckled with the seat's harness, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of their particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds; many newer seats have higher weight limits-check the seat's owner's manual for details).
- Between Ages 4-8 OR Until 4'9" Tall - Booster seat. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (by reaching the upper height and weight limits of their seat), they should ride in belt positioning booster seats. Remember to keep children in the back seat for the best possible protection.
- After Age 8 AND/OR 4'9" Tall - Seat belts. Children should use booster seats until adult seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (not the neck). When adult seat belts fit children properly they can use the adult seat belts without booster seats. For the best possible protection keep children in the back seat and use lap-and-shoulder belts.
All children younger than 13 years should ride in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an air bag.
Place children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.8
- CDC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System [online]. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (producer). [2010 August 2].
- Department of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Traffic Safety Facts 2008: Children. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2009. [cited 2010 August 2].
- Greenspan AI, Dellinger AM, Chen J. Restraint use and seating position among children less than 13 years of age: Is it still a problem? Journal of Safety Research 2010. 41: 183-185.
- Shults RA. Child passenger deaths involving drinking drivers-United States, 1997-2002 [published erratum appears in MMWR 2004;53(5):109]. MMWR 2004;53(4):77-9.
- Cody BE, Mickalide AD, Paul HP, Colella JM. Child passengers at risk in America: a national study of restraint use. Washington (DC): National SAFE KIDS Campaign; 2002.
- Department of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Traffic Safety Facts Research Note 2005: Misuse of Child Restraints: Results of a Workshop to Review Field Data Results . Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2006. [cited 2010 August 2]
- Zaza, S, Sleet DA, Thompson RS, Sosin DM, Bolen JC, Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to increase the use of child safety seats. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2001: 21 (4S), 31-47.
- Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. Child passenger safety. Pediatrics. 2011;127(4):788-93.
Reproduced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov.
Develop a Family Disaster Plan
Families can cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as a team. Create a family disaster plan including a communication plan, disaster supplies kit, and an evacuation plan. Knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility.
- Find out what could happen to you
- Make a disaster plan
- Complete the checklist
- Practice your plan
Find out what could happen to you
Contact your American Red Cross chapter or local emergency management office -- be prepared to take notes:
- Ask what types of disasters are most likely to happen. Request information on how to prepare for each.
- Learn about your community's warning signals: what they sound like and what you should do when you hear them.
- Ask about animal care after disaster. Animals other than service animals may not be allowed inside emergency shelters.
- Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if needed.
- Next, find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children's school or daycare center, and other places where your family spends time.
Create a disaster plan
Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.
Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.
Pick two places to meet:
- Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire.
- Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Everyone must know the address and phone number.
Safe and Well Website
Following the 2005 hurricane season, the Red Cross developed the Safe and Well website, which enables people within a disaster area to let their friends and loved ones outside of the affected region know of their well-being. By logging onto the Red Cross public website, a person affected by disaster may post messages indicating that they are safe and well at a shelter, hotel, or at home, and that they will contact their friends and family as soon as possible. During large-scale disasters, there will be telephone-based assistance via the 1-866-GET-INFO hotline for people who live within the affected areas and do not have Internet access, but wish to register on the Safe and Well website.
People who are concerned about family members in an affected area may also access the Safe and Well website to view these messages. They will be required to enter either the name and telephone number, or the name and complete address, of the person about whom they wish to get information. Red Cross chapters will provide telephone-based assistance to local callers who do not have Internet access and wish to search the Safe and Wellwebsite for information about a loved one.
Be assured that the information on the Safe and Well website is secure and that information about the locations where people are staying is not published. Privacy laws require the Red Cross to protect each person's right to determine how best to communicate their contact information and whereabouts to family members. The Red Cross does not actively trace or attempt to locate individuals registered on the Safe and Well website.
Ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact". After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact's phone number.
Discuss what to do in an evacuation. Plan how to take care of your pets.
Families should develop different methods for communicating during emergency situations and share their plans beforehand with all those who would be worried about their welfare. Options for remaining in contact with family and friends if a disaster strikes include:
- Phone contact with a designated family member or friend who is unlikely to be affected by the same disaster.
- Email notification via a family distribution list.
- Registration on the American Red Cross Safe and Well Website.
- Use of the toll-free Contact Loved Ones voice messaging service (1-866-78-CONTACT).
- Use of the US Postal Service change of address forms when it becomes necessary to leave home for an extended period of time, thus ensuring that mail will be redirected to a current address.
Complete this checklist
- Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
- Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
- Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.
- Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at the main switches.
- Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
- Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher, and show them where it's kept.
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
- Conduct a home hazard hunt.
- Stock emergency supplies and assemble a disaster supplies kit.
- Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
Practice your plan
- Test your smoke detectors monthly, and change the batteries at least once a year.
- Quiz your kids every six months so they remember what to do.
- Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills.
- Replace stored water every three months and stored food every six months.
- Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's instructions.
Reproduced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov.
Creating a Family Disaster Kit
Gather Emergency Supplies
If disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water, or electricity for some time. By taking time now to prepare emergency water supplies, food supplies and disaster supplies kit, you can provide for your entire family.
Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supplies for two weeks, consider maintaining a supply that will last that long.
You may not need to go out and buy foods to prepare an emergency food supply. You can use the canned goods, dry mixes, and other staples on your cupboard shelves.
Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. A normally active person needs to drink at least 2 quarts (a half gallon) of water each day. You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Store at least an additional half-gallon per person, per day for this.
Store at least a 3-day supply and consider storing a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. If you are unable to store this much, store as much as you can. You can reduce the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
And don't forget to take your pets and service animals into account!
Disaster Supplies Kit
A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items that could be needed in the event of a disaster.
Assemble the following items to create kits for use at home, the office, at school and/or in a vehicle:
- Water--one gallon per person, per day (3¬day supply for evacuation, 2¬week supply for home)
- Food--nonperishable, easy¬to¬prepare items (3¬day supply for evacuation, 2¬week supply for home)
- Battery¬powered or hand¬crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7day supply) and medical items
- Multipurpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:
- Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Games and activities for children
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Two way radios
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Manual can opener
Additional supplies to keep at home or in your kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:
- N95 or surgical masks
- Rain gear
- Work gloves
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
- Plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
- Household liquid bleach
- Entertainment items
- Blankets or sleeping bags
Pack the items in easy-to-carry containers, label the containers clearly and store them where they would be easily accessible. Duffle bags, backpacks, and covered trash receptacles are good candidates for containers. In a disaster situation, you may need access to your disaster supplies kit quickly - whether you are sheltering at home or evacuating. Following a disaster, having the right supplies can help your household endure home confinement or evacuation.
Make sure the needs of everyone who would use the kit are covered, including infants, seniors and pets. It's good to involve whoever is going to use the kit, including children, in assembling it.
Benefits of Involving Children
- Involving children is the first step in helping them know what to do in an emergency.
- Children can help. Ask them to think of items that they would like to include in a disaster supplies kit, such as books or games or nonperishable food items, and to help the household remember to keep the kits updated. Children could make calendars and mark the dates for checking emergency supplies, rotating the emergency food and water or replacing it every six months and replacing batteries as necessary. Children can enjoy preparing plans and disaster kits for pets and other animals.
Disaster Supplies Kit Checklist for Pets
- Food and water for at least three days for each pet, food and water bowls and a manual can opener
- Depending on the pet, litter and litter box or newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items, and household bleach
- Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container, a first aid kit and a pet first aid book
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets cannot escape. A carrier should be large enough for the animal to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down. Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours. Be sure to have a secure cage with no loose objects inside it to accommodate smaller pets. These may require blankets or towels for bedding and warmth and other special items
- Pet toys and the pet's bed, if you can easily take it, to reduce stress
- Current photos and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated, and to prove that they are yours
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems and the name and telephone number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.
Additional Supplies for Sheltering-in-Place
In the unlikely event that chemical or radiological hazards cause officials to advise people in a specific area to "shelter-in-place" in a sealed room, households should have in the room they have selected for this purpose:
- A roll of duct tape and scissors
- Plastic sheeting pre-cut to fit shelter-in-place room openings
Ten square feet of floor space per person will provide sufficient air to prevent carbon dioxide buildup for up to five hours. Local officials are unlikely to recommend the public shelter in a sealed room for more than two-three hours because the effectiveness of such sheltering diminishes with time as the contaminated outside air gradually seeps into the shelter.
Reproduced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov.
Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety
- Elderly people (65 years and older), infants and children and people with chronic medical conditions are more prone to heat stress.
- Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. During conditions of extreme heat, spend time in locations with air-conditioning such as shopping malls, public libraries, or public health sponsored heat-relief shelters in your area.
- Get informed. Listen to local news and weather channels or contact your local public health department during extreme heat conditions for health and safety updates
- Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages and increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level.
- Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat. Historically, from 1979-2003, excessive heat exposure caused 8,015 deaths in the United States. During this period, more people in this country died from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined. In 2001, 300 deaths were caused by excessive heat exposure.
- People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and properly cool themselves. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn't enough. In such cases, a person's body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs.
- Several factors affect the body's ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other conditions related to risk include age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use.
- Because heat-related deaths are preventable, people need to be aware of who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. The elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk. However, even young and healthy individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.
- Summertime activity, whether on the playing field or the construction site, must be balanced with measures that aid the body's cooling mechanisms and prevent heat-related illness. This pamphlet tells how you can prevent, recognize, and cope with heat-related health problems.
What Is Extreme Heat?
- Conditions of extreme heat are defined as summertime temperatures that are substantially hotter and/or more humid than average for location at that time of year. Humid or muggy conditions, which add to the discomfort of high temperatures, occur when a "dome" of high atmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air near the ground. Extremely dry and hot conditions can provoke dust storms and low visibility. Droughts occur when a long period passes without substantial rainfall. A heat wave combined with a drought is a very dangerous situation.
During Hot Weather
- To protect your health when temperatures are extremely high, remember to keep cool and use common sense. The following tips are important:
Drink Plenty of Fluids
- During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.
- Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
- Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol, or large amounts of sugar--these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
Replace Salt and Minerals
Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen
Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Sunburn affects your body's ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and damages the skin. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels) 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully
If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Try to rest often in shady areas so that your body's thermostat will have a chance to recover.
If you are not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or at least into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
Stay Cool Indoors
Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area. Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
Use a Buddy System
When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.
Monitor Those at High Risk
Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.
- Infants and young children are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.
- People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to change in temperature.
- People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.
- People who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness.
- People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.
Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.
Adjust to the Environment
Be aware that any sudden change in temperature, such as an early summer heat wave, will be stressful to your body. You will have a greater tolerance for heat if you limit your physical activity until you become accustomed to the heat. If you travel to a hotter climate, allow several days to become acclimated before attempting any vigorous exercise, and work up to it gradually.
Do Not Leave Children in Cars
Even in cool temperatures, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Even with the windows cracked open, interior temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes. Anyone left inside is at risk for serious heat-related illnesses or even death. Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death. When traveling with children, remember to do the following:
- Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
- To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
- When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.
Use Common Sense
Remember to keep cool and use common sense:
- Avoid hot foods and heavy meals--they add heat to your body.
- Drink plenty of fluids and replace salts and minerals in your body. Do not take salt tablets unless under medical supervision.
- Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.
- Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and in places of potential severe exposure such as beaches.
- Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car.
- Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.
Hot Weather Health Emergencies
Even short periods of high temperatures can cause serious health problems. During hot weather health emergencies, keep informed by listening to local weather and news channels or contact local health departments for health and safety updates. Doing too much on a hot day, spending too much time in the sun or staying too long in an overheated place can cause heat-related illnesses. Know the symptoms of heat disorders and overexposure to the sun, and be ready to give first aid treatment.
Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature. The body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106℃F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Recognizing Heat Stroke
Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following:
- An extremely high body temperature (above 103℃F, orally)
- Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Throbbing headache
What to Do
If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Do the following:
- Get the victim to a shady area.
- Cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
- Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102℃F.
- If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
- Do not give the victim fluids to drink.
- Get medical assistance as soon as possible.
Sometimes a victim's muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke. If this happens, keep the victim from injuring himself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his or her side.
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. It is the body's response to an excessive loss of the water and salt contained in sweat. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment.
Recognizing Heat Exhaustion
Warning signs of heat exhaustion include the following:
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
The skin may be cool and moist. The victim's pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. Seek medical attention immediately if any of the following occurs:
- Symptoms are severe
- The victim has heart problems or high blood pressure
Otherwise, help the victim to cool off, and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than 1 hour.
What to Do
Cooling measures that may be effective include the following:
- Cool, nonalcoholic beverages
- Cool shower, bath, or sponge bath
- An air-conditioned environment
- Lightweight clothing
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 may be the cause of heat cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.
Recognizing Heat Cramps
Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms--usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs--that may occur in association with strenuous activity. If you have heart problems or are on a low-sodium diet, get medical attention for heat cramps.
What to Do
If medical attention is not necessary, take these steps:
- Stop all activity, and sit quietly in a cool place.
- Drink clear juice or a sports beverage.
- Do not return to strenuous activity for a few hours after the cramps subside, because further exertion may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Seek medical attention for heat cramps if they do not subside in 1 hour.
Sunburn should be avoided because it damages the skin. Although the discomfort is usually minor and healing often occurs in about a week, a more severe sunburn may require medical attention.
Symptoms of sunburn are well known: the skin becomes red, painful, and abnormally warm after sun exposure.
What to Do
Consult a doctor if the sunburn affects an infant younger than 1 year of age or if these symptoms are present:
- Fluid-filled blisters
- Severe pain
Also, remember these tips when treating sunburn:
- Avoid repeated sun exposure.
- Apply cold compresses or immerse the sunburned area in cool water.
- Apply moisturizing lotion to affected areas. Do not use salve, butter, or ointment.
- Do not break blisters.
Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can occur at any age but is most common in young children.
Recognizing Heat Rash
Heat rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. It is more likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases.
What to Do
The best treatment for heat rash is to provide a cooler, less humid environment. Keep the affected area dry. Dusting powder may be used to increase comfort.
Treating heat rash is simple and usually does not require medical assistance. Other heat-related problems can be much more severe.
Fire Safety Campaign For Babies & Toddlers
The U.S. Fire Administration's A Fire Safety Campaign for Babies and Toddlers is a public awareness and education campaign designed to draw attention to the increased risk of fire death for young children, and to teach parents and caregivers how they can avoid the tragedy. A child under the age of five is twice as likely to die in a residential fire than the rest of the population. The campaign's slogan: "Prepare. Practice. Prevent the Unthinkable." urges parents and caregivers to prepare by installing and maintaining working smoke alarms; safely storing lighters and matches out of children's reach and sight; and practicing a fire escape plan with small children, which should include helping toddlers understand how to quickly respond in case of fire, and planning how adults can escape with babies.
Four national organizations have partnered with the U.S. Fire Administration and will give the multi-year campaign nationwide reach to parents and caregivers. The American Academy of Pediatrics, ZERO TO THREE, National SAFE KIDS Campaign, and NFPA (the National Fire Protection Association) will support the campaign by engaging their members and networks in disseminating the campaign materials.
The following 2 Articles are presented in PDF Format for easy downloading, viewing and printing:
Home Fire Safety Checklist
- There is one smoke alarm on every level of the home and inside and outside each sleeping area.
- Smoke alarms are tested and cleaned monthly.
- Smoke alarm batteries are changed as needed.
- Smoke alarms are less than 10 years old.
- Cooking area is free from items that can catch fire.
- Kitchen stove hood is clean and vented to the outside.
- Pots are not left unattended on the stove.
Electrical & Appliance Safety
- Electrical cords do not run under rugs.
- Electrical cords are not frayed or cracked.
- Circuit-protected, multi-prong adapters are used for additional outlets.
- Large and small appliances are plugged directly into wall outlets.
- Clothes dryer lint filter and venting system are clean.
- Candles are in sturdy fire-proof containers that won't be tipped over.
- All candles are extinguished before going to bed or leaving the room.
- Children and pets are never left unattended with candles.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
- Carbon monoxide alarms are located on each level of the home.
- Carbon monoxide alarms are less than 7 years old.
- Family members who smoke only buy fire-safe cigarettes and smoke outside.
- Matches and lighters are secured out of children's sight.
- Ashtrays are large, deep and kept away from items that can catch fire.
- Ashtrays are emptied into a container that will not burn.
- Chimney and furnace are cleaned and inspecdted yearly.
- Furniture and other items that can catch fire are at least 3 feet from fireplaces, wall heaters, baseboards, and space heaters.
- Fireplace and barbecue ashes are placed outdoors in a covered metal container at least 3 feet from anything that can catch fire.
- Extension cords are never used with space heaters.
- Heaters are approved by a national testing laboratory and have tip-over shut-off function.
Home Escape Plan
- Have two ways out of each room.
- Know to crawl low to the floor when escaping to avoid toxic smoke.
- Know that once you're out, stay out.
- Know where to meet after the escape.
- Meeting place should be near the front of your home, so firefighters know you are out.
- Practice your fire escape plan.
Reproduced from the U.S. Fire Administration website, http://www.usfa.fema.gov