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July Safety: Extreme Heat and Firework Safety

The July safety tips arrive in the setting of an unusually hot Southern Arizona summer. Recognition and prevention of harmful effects of extreme heat to people and pets will be our focus. Additionally, no summer safety article would be complete without discussing fire prevention and fireworks safety.

Extreme Heat is defined as a period of two days or longer, of temperatures above 90 degrees. Residents of Southern Arizona are exposed to extreme heat every summer. Let’s review how to prevent and respond to heat emergencies.

In general, when outside temperatures reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, sweating occurs. Sweat will evaporate from the skin, resulting in cooling of our body temperature.

DHFD July 2024 1

Extreme heat and high heat indexes interfere with evaporation of sweat. No evaporation means no cooling which in turn causes internal body temperatures to rise. Outdoor temperatures, when combined with high humidity further impair the ability to sweat. The term heat index refers to the actual outdoor temperature, evaluated in combination with the relative humidity. Evaporation of sweat from the skin is crucial to the ability of our bodies to cool down. Thus, high temperatures combined with high humidity impair the ability to sweat, creating an increased risk of adverse outcomes due to heat exposure.

Summary Points to Consider:

  • Children under 4 years old and adults sixty-five or older are most at risk for heat related illness.
  • Hot and humid weather by itself can prevent the ability to cool down.
  • Staying cool to prevent body temperature from rising can be aided by simple measures such as a fan or air conditioning.
  • Prevent sunburn by using sunscreen.
  • Dress in light weight, loose fitting clothing.
  • Be sure to be well hydrated and have water with you when you go outdoors.
  • Some medications for common chronic conditions can also decrease the body’s ability to sweat. Check with your medical provider to see if any of your medications inhibit sweating.
  • And don’t forget your pets! Please read these recommendations if you are responsible for the health and welfare of a pet.
Pima County Beat the Heat

Pima County “Beat the Heat” has further information and programs to assist those who lack a means to cool their homes.

If you encounter anyone with a heat related condition: Remove the person to shade or a cool location indoors. Remove excess clothing. Look for a means of quickly cooling the person. If outside look for a hose, or ice packs or clothing or towels that can be soaked in water. Recommended areas to hose down or apply cool compresses, are head, neck armpits and groin.

July 2024 DHFD Firework Safety

:Fire Works Safety Review

Fireworks are beautiful and awe inspiring -BUT- Fireworks are also responsible for severe injury, death and thousands of dollars in property damage fires yearly. Of particular concern is that over a third of fireworks injuries occur in children under age 15. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) weighing the severity of injury due to fireworks has recommended leaving fireworks to the professional.

Arizona state law regulates the sale and use of fireworks. There are specific times of the year when firework sales and use are allowed. This information is available at https://www.azleg.gov/ars/36/01606 .

Choosing a safe site involves avoiding injury to your audience, your home, and being prepared for fire related injuries and fire prevention.

  • Select a site that is free of trash, sticks or dead wood or any debris.
  • Select a surface that is hard and flat and fireproof.
  • Do not choose a site near your home.
  • Do not light fireworks on your deck.
  • Do not light fireworks near buildings.
  • Do not light fireworks near the pavement.
  • Do not light fireworks near gas tanks (such as home propane tanks.)
  • Do not light fireworks near power lines.
  • Avoid lighting fireworks close to the fuse. Create distance between your arm and the fuse with a utility lighter.
  • Beware of duds: do not try to reignite or approach a dud. Allow10 minutes prior to removing a dud by placing in a bucket of water. Disarm the dud before throwing it out.
  • Miscellaneous safety advice: Never hold a firework in your hand while lighting. Be sure that the fireworks are secure on the ground, with no people or animals nearby.
  • Never light more than one firework at a time.
  • Do not use alcohol if you are handling fireworks

After reading the above we come back to the advice of the NFPA: “Leave the fireworks to the professionals.”

We close with a reminder about our pets and firecrackers: Fireworks are stressful for many pets. This Link can provide more advice from the Humane Society for keeping pets safe in the setting of fireworks.

We wish you all a safe and Happy 4th of July!