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Forsyth officials urge safety during hot weather

Beat the heat

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FORSYTH COUNTY -- It might not officially be summer in Forsyth County, but the weather feels like it.

Though the calendar saves June 20 as the first day of summer, temperatures this week are expected to stay in the 90s. Area residents are being asked to take safety precautions to avoid the sun and heat.

Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said this was “the first of likely many heat waves through the summer.”

“Summertime in Georgia has officially begun, even though climatologically it’s not here officially, yet,” he said. “Those of us that are from Georgia or have spent any time in the South know very well that by this time each year the heat reaches a point where it becomes dangerous.”

Of course, temperature isn’t the only factor in the heat.

“You’re not dealing with just the heat in Georgia. We also have the heat index, which is a scale that takes the heat and humidity into question,” Shivers said. “Within the heat index, even working in the shade can be quite dangerous, so don’t let the temperature fool you or think that if you’re working in a shady area you’re safe.”

The most important rule may seem simple.

“The first and foremost thing that everyone should keep in mind is to stay hydrated,” Shivers said. “Drink plenty of water. Your body needs that moisture to function properly and keep you protected and hydrated.”

Shivers also recommended light meals and limited alcohol consumption.

Those staying in the sun can also help to minimize risk with their clothing. Shivers recommended “lightweight and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing” and wide-brimmed hats for those who spend time outdoors.

He said it is also important to keep an eye on others and recommended using the buddy system; checking on those especially susceptible to heat and looking out for common heat-related health symptoms.

Common symptoms for heat stroke or exhaustion are flushed, pale or red skin, confusion and not sweating normally. If suffering any heat symptoms, Shivers said to drink clear fluids and call 911.

Shivers said with high temperatures people should not leave animals or children in cars unattended, and merely rolling down windows is not enough to combat the heat.

“When the temperature gets into the 90s, the temperature in a vehicle will soar above 130 degrees very, very, very quickly, ” he said. “It’s always a danger for a tragedy to occur when a child or a pet is left in a vehicle. ”

He said anyone who sees an animal or child in a hot vehicle should immediately call 911.