With very hot weather forecasted through Tuesday, Polk County Emergency Management encourages residents to take extra precautions to stay safe.
Anyone is at risk for heat-related illnesses including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, especially young children, older adults, individuals with chronic health conditions and anyone spending significant time outdoors.
Some general precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses may include:
- Be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating, cold, pale and clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, headache or fainting. Symptoms of heat stroke are high body temperature, hot, red, dry skin, fast pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, or confusion.
- Drink plenty of water. DO NOT wait until you are thirsty to drink. Avoid drinking alcoholic and caffeinated beverages as they dehydrate you.
- Take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors. Spend at least two hours in air conditioning each day.
- Try to avoid being outdoors in the hottest portion of the day: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“During extended days of extreme temperatures, it is a good idea to think about your personal preparedness plans and to check on others who may be more vulnerable,” says AJ Mumm, Polk County Emergency Management Director. Many public places such as malls, libraries and other public spaces that are air-conditioned are open to the public as daytime cooling centers, but do not provide other services than what is normally offered at those specific locations. Mumm continues, “If individuals do need overnight sheltering, our partners at Central Iowa Shelter and Services (CISS) and Hope Ministries offer those services, and the Des Moines Area Transportation (DART) will be offering free rides to cooling centers and shelters across the county free of charge beginning Saturday morning through Tuesday.” Polk County Emergency Management will continue to monitor the forecast to ensure daytime cooling center access remains in place as long as necessary.
For a full list of daytime cooling centers that are open, visit the Polk County Emergency Management’s website at www.polkcountyiowa.gov/media/mm5n3tea/2022-2023-full-extreme-temp-centers-for-polk-county.pdf or call 211.