Heat Safety Tips
Stay safe as summer heats up. Prepare yourself for the high temperatures.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sickness from the heat occurs when your body cannot compensate and properly cool you off. However, heat-related illness and death are preventable.
Before the next heat wave, or outdoor activity, follow these protective actions from the CDC and stay cool this summer:
- Stay in an air-conditioned location as much as possible.
- Drink plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty.
- Take several breaks from the heat, especially midday when the sun is hottest.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing, and sunscreen. Remember that you should reapply sunscreen as indicated on the package.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Check on friends or neighbors during extremely hot days and have someone do the same for you.
- Never leave children or pets in cars.
- Check the local news for health and safety updates.
PREPARE IN ADVANCE
- Find places in your community where you can go to get cool. Columbia County’s cooling centers are open from June 1st – September 30th (see cooling center information below). If you have questions about our cooling centers, please email EmergencyManagement@columbiacountyga.gov.
- Keep your home cool by doing the following:
- Cover windows with drapes or shades.
- Weather-strip doors and windows
- Use window reflectors, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside
- Add insulation to keep the heat out
- Use attic fans to clear hot air
- Install window air conditioners and insulate around them
- Learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illness.
RECOGNIZE AND RESPOND
Know the signs of heat-related illness and the ways to respond to it.
- Heat Cramps Signs: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs
- Actions: Go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if cramps last more than an hour
- Heat Exhaustion Signs: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, or fainting
- Actions: Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.
- Heat Stroke Signs: Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) taken orally; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; or unconsciousness.
- Actions: Call 911 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.
Find more information on extreme heat preparedness at www.ready.gov/heat.
Hurricane Safety Tips
Regardless of when they form and the geographic location they hit, hurricanes leave a path of destruction for everyone to repair. In situations like these, the only thing we can do is make sure we prepare for the hurricane before it arrives.
Planning ahead can help survivors feel better prepared. Having what we need to take care of ourselves, our loved ones and homes reduces the amount of stress in the emergency.
Get your family prepared in three key steps:
Build a Kit
Families and individuals need to consider their specific needs to ensure they have the right supplies to manage by themselves during the first 10 days following a disaster.
- Store a gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation. In case your water supply runs out, pre-identify safe sources of water, use water filters or boil water if you are unsure about its cleanliness. Have disposable cups available and remember to clean the water containers after using them.
- Gather a 10-day supply of non-perishable foods for each person in the household. Individuals with special diets and allergies will need particular attention as will babies, toddlers and the elderly. Nursing mothers may need liquid formula. Part of the grocery shopping for the 10 days of supplies should include cleaning products for our homes as well as ourselves.
- Canned dietetic foods, juices and soups may be helpful for ill or elderly people.
- Have enough hand sanitizer, antibiotic ointment, hygienic products, diapers and wipes available for children and older adults.
- Make sure to have food and water for your pet. Be sure your pet is wearing a collar with updated identification tags with the pet’s name, owner’s name, address and phone number.
- Have at hand a favorite toy, stuffed animal, books and coloring book and crayons for the younger members of the family.
Make a Family Communications Plan
As roads may be impassable and cell phone service may be disrupted, identify alternate ways of staying in touch with loved ones.
- Choose an out of town friend or relative as a point of contact.
- Decide on a meeting place in case you cannot return home.
- Keep important documents and phone numbers with you at all times.
- Ensure children are included in preparedness conversations and make sure they have emergency contacts memorized or saved in a secure place.
- Identify the closest shelter in case you are ordered to leave your home, and let your family know its location.
Listen for the most up-to-date information before, during and after a disaster.
- Local media will provide evacuation orders, details about evacuation routes and shelter locations.
- Make sure your battery-powered radio is working and you have extra batteries.
- Download the CodeRed App to receive severe weather alerts, safety tips and much more. Stay updated with weather-related alerts from the U.S. National Weather Service.
This is the time to inform ourselves and prepare to act. When we have everything that we need we are ready, and that helps us maintain our well-being. If you or someone in your family is experiencing issues with disaster-related stress, call Línea PAS at 800-981-0023, TTY 888-672-7622.
Have 10 Days Worth of Supplies
Survivors should prepare with essential supplies for at least 10 days. That means having enough food, water and other commodities to sustain the household.
A basic emergency supply kit includes:
- Water – a gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation, or 10 gallons per person
- Food – at least a 10 day supply of non-perishable food per person
- Non-electric can opener
- Pet food and extra water
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and paper towels
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
- Propane gas
- Flashlights or solar lamps
- Cash in large and small bills
- Important family documents
Secure Your Home
Evaluate the risk if you decide to stay in your home. Are you in a special flood hazard area? Can your home withstand strong winds?
- Re-evaluate our homeowners and flood insurance policies
- Secure or reinforce windows and doors
- Seal and secure the roof and make sure it is in good condition
- Trim branches and trees
- Store flammable materials in a secure place
- Secure solar panels, satellite dishes and water systems with anchors
- Check and clean drain system
- In case of storms, move car to higher ground if in a flood zone
- Remove any debris around the house
- Secure outdoor furniture, tools and equipment
Visit the National Flood Insurance Program to learn more about flood insurance.
You can find more information about Hurricane Safety by visiting Ready.gov.
Firework Safety Tips
House Bill (HB) 419, Fireworks, will take effect on July 1, 2018, and Columbia County will adhere to state law. HB 419 states: It shall be lawful for any person, firm, corporation, association, or partnership to use or ignite or cause to be ignited any consumer fireworks:
(i) On any day beginning at the time of 10:00 A.M. and up to and including the ending time of 11:59 P.M, unless during such times the noise from such use or ignition is not in compliance with a noise ordinance of a county or municipal corporation as provided for in subsection (c) of this Code section, except as otherwise provided for under this subparagraph; provided, however, that a county or municipal corporation may additionally require the issuance of a special use permit pursuant to subparagraph (D) of this paragraph for use or ignition;
(ii) On January 1, the last Saturday and Sunday in May, July 3, July 4, the first Monday in September, and December 31 of each year after the time of 10:00 A.M. and up to and including the time of 11:59 P.M.; and
(iii) On January 1 of each year beginning at the time of 12:00 Midnight and up 53 to and including the ending time of 1:00 A.M.
Fireworks Safety Tips for Patrons:
- The best way to protect family is to not use fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.
- Closely supervise children around fireworks at ALL times.
- Little arms are too short to hold sparklers that can heat up to 1,200 degrees. Do not give children sparklers; let them hold a glow stick instead.
- Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
- Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
- Point fireworks away from homes and people, and keep away from brush, leaves or any flammable substances.
- Stand several feet away from fireworks. If the device does not go off, do not stand over it. Put it out with water and dispose of it in a safe location.
- Always have a bucket of water and/or fire extinguisher nearby. It is also important that one knows how to use a fire extinguisher properly.
- If anyone is injured while shooting fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, do not touch or rub it, as it may cause even more damage.
Fireworks Safety Tips for Pets:
- The safest place for your pets is indoors.
- Outside pets should have secure fencing/gates, a place to hide within those confines, and a proper ID tag.
- Do not take pets to events where fireworks are likely to occur. Keep in mind that pets do not enjoy loud booms and flashing lights the way we do.