June 21, 2013

City Reminds Chicagoans of Extreme Summer Weather Precautions

Hot weather and thunderstorms predicted for this weekend

With increasingly hot weather expected for the weekend and throughout next week, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) reminds residents and visitors to Chicago to be prepared for the possibility of extreme temperatures and thunderstorm activity that typically arrive with summer. Additionally, the public should stay informed about weather-related conditions and know what precautions to take and where to go to get relief from the heat.

“Throughout the country, we have seen how extreme weather conditions can endanger people and communities and we hope all Chicagoans keep safety in mind this summer as they enjoy outdoor activities. Extreme heat can be dangerous, and thunderstorms, with lightning, heavy rains and high winds can greatly impact our families, pets, lifestyle and activities. OEMC continues to monitor weather conditions and is prepared to activate plans and alert the public should a situation occur," said OEMC Executive Director. Gary W. Schenkel.

As temperatures rise, OEMC reminds the public to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. “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. “Heat stroke” is more serious, and occurs when the body starts to lose its ability to regulate itself. The telltale signs of heat stroke are:

  • An extremely high body temperature, such as 103 degrees or above.
  • Dizziness and nausea.
  • A throbbing headache and a pulse that is rapid and strong.
  • Skin that is red, hot and dry.

If you see someone suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, take immediate action. Call 9-1-1 immediately and then try to move the person into a cool place and cool the person with water.

The Chicago Department of Public Health reminds residents about steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

  • Drink plenty of water, at least eight glasses a day to avoid dehydration;
  • Ensure that children stay well hydrated;Call 3-1-1 for the nearest City Cooling Center operated by the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). The centers are open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.on Wednesdays. Hours and days of service could be extended under extreme conditions. Other City facilities might be designated as Cooling Centers during off days or hours. DFSS Cooling Centers are not open on weekday holidays unless specifically indicated. For the most current Cooling Center information at any time,call 3-1-1;
  • Visit one of the City’s temporary cooling centers: Chicago police district headquarters; Chicago Public Librarylocations during public hours of operation; and other public buildings;
  • Contact local Chicago Park District facility to find out about beach and park hours and programs.Sign up for extreme weather alerts at www.NotifyChicago.org

Chicagoans are encouraged to be good neighbors and family members and check on the disabled and seniors who may not understand the effects of extreme heat, or call 3-1-1 to request well-being checks and rides to cooling centers. The City’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) routinely performs well-being checks and when necessary enlists additional assistance from their home care services, such as Home Delivered Meals and Case Management, to check on seniors and inquire about their well-being. DFSS has also notified its Well-Being Task Force which includes nearly 70 public agencies and private businesses to be on alert during this dangerous weather and report any senior or vulnerable person who is at risk from the heat.

Beaches, public parks and pools make excellent places to cool off, but open fire hydrants do not. “Playing in the shooting water of an open hydrant is not a way to stay cool," said Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Jose Santiago.  “Children are not thinking about safety, and they often cannot hear approaching cars.”

Residents can also obtain more information about extreme weather preparedness by visiting www.AlertChicago.com
and sign up to receive free weather alert notifications at www.NotifyChicago.org.

View OEMC Official News Release

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