Cooling Off

Cooling Off

Kaden Charboneau takes a moment to cool off with water while working outdoors at a fireworks stand in front of Wagoner Walmart.

CHRISTY WHEELAND/AMERICAN-TRIBUNE

From severe weather and flooding rains to hot scorching temperatures and heat index readings well past the century mark, the month of June was anything but predictable. Yet one thing is for certain ... summer has definitely arrived, and it’s time for residents to take the Oklahoma heat seriously for safety’s sake.

After all, heat combined with humidity can be brutal. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can easily come into play for those working in hot environments and outdoors.

Lt. Britt Rasmussen, a basic emergency medical technician with the Coweta Fire Department, said CFD does not receive many heat related calls, but they do happen.

He said one of the common things first responders see with heat related calls is people mowing. They get dizzy or nauseated, and if they keep mowing, they may give out on energy or even pass out.

“With heat exhaustion, you’re dizzy, nauseous and start sweating profusely,” Rasmussen explained. “Get out of the heat, hydrate and rest in the shade or an air conditioned environment and you will be okay.

“When you get to the heat stroke end of it, it’s when you stop sweating and can lose consciousness. Your organs can literally shut down, so you must take immediate action,” he continued. “With heat stroke you will need IV fluids and may end up in the hospital.”

Rasmussen said one way residents can combat the hot summer temperatures is to drink lots of water prior to working in the heat.

“It doesn’t do any good to drink it the day you are working. You need to pre-hydrate in the day leading up to it,” he said.

Also, he suggests for people to avoid any unnecessary outdoor activities during the heat of the day and to complete those tasks early in the morning or evening.

“If you start feeling symptoms of heat exhaustion, get nauseated and feel sick, then stop. Let your supervisor know and take a break,” Rasmussen said. “Get out of the heat and drink some water before it gets to the next step.”

With summer now in full swing, the firefighter reminds all Wagoner County residents to keep an eye out for their neighbors and those who may not have air conditioning.

In checking with Wagoner Emergency Medical Services, administrative assistant Janna Metzger reports EMS has responded to one heat related call.

Christy has been covering news and sports in Wagoner County since 1988. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in Public Relations/Journalism.