Heat Related Safety
What is a heat-related illness?:
- When the body's temperature control system
is unable to compensate and the body can no
longer cool itself.
- When blood is flowing properly to the skin,
extra heat from the body is pumped to the skin
and removed by sweat evaporation.
- If fluids are not replaced soon enough, heat
stroke can result, potentially leading to brain
damage or death.
Facts and Figures:
- In the city of Mesa from May 01 - Jun 23,
2008 we have had six heat-related incidents.
- Men sweat more than women, so men are more
susceptible to heat illness because they become
more quickly dehydrated.
Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness:
- Drink more fluids, regardless of your
- Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink.
- Do not drink liquids that contain caffeine,
alcohol, or large amounts of sugar because these
can cause you to lose more body fluid.
- A sports beverage can replace salts and
minerals that are lost when sweating.
- Avoid hot foods and heavy meals because they
add heat to your body.
- If possible, stay indoors and in an
- Limit use of stoves and ovens to keep home
- If you do not have air conditioning, go to a
public location with air conditioning.
- A few hours in air conditioning can help
- A cool shower or bath is also an effective
way to cool off.
- Electric fans provide some comfort, but with
temperatures in the high 90's and above, they
will not prevent heat-related illness.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored,
- NEVER leave anyone (children/pets) in a
closed, parked vehicle.
- Consult your doctor regarding medications
(prescription & over the counter) they may
increase your risk.
- Groups that are at greater risk of suffering
from heat-related illness: Infants and young
children, people age 65 or older, people who
have a mental illness, those who are physically
ill, especially with heart disease or high blood
If you must be out in the heat:
- Limit your outdoor activity to morning and
- Try to rest often in shady areas.
- Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a
wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Remember to put on SPF 15 or higher.
- Sunburn can significantly slow the skin's
ability to release excess heat.
Heat Stroke or Sun Stroke:
- This is the most serious heat-related
illness and is a life threatening condition.
- The body becomes unable to control its
temperature, body temperature rises rapidly, the
sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable
to cool down.
- Warning signs:
- Extremely high body temperature (105+)
- Red, hot, and dry skin
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- Throbbing headache
- First aid for heat stroke:
- Call for immediate emergency assistance
while beginning to cool the victim.
- Delay can be fatal.
- Get the victim to a shady area.
- Cool the victim rapidly (immerse in a tub of
cool water, place in shower, spray the victim
with garden hose, sponge with water, wrap in a
cool wet sheet)
- Monitor body temperature and continue to
cool until temperature drops to 101-102Â°F.
First aid for heat exhaustion:
- This 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.
- Warning signs:
- Heavy sweating
- Skin may be pale, cool and moist
- Pulse will be fast and weak
- Breathing will be fast and shallow
- Muscle cramps
- Cool the
body during heat exhaustion by drinking cool
- Get to an
- Lie down in a cool
place and rest.
- Take a cool shower/bath.
- Change in to light weight clothing.
- Muscle pains or spasms that occur usually in the
abdomen, arms, or legs due to heavy exertion.
- Although they are the least severe heat-related
illness they are often the first sign that the body
is having trouble with the heat.
- First aid for heat
cramps (if medical attention is not necessary):
all activity and sit quietly in a cool place.
- Lightly stretch and gently massage affected muscles.
- Drink clear juice or a sports beverage.
- Do not
resume strenuous activity for a few hours after the
cramps have left because further exertion may lead
to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- If heat cramps
continue past 1 hour, seek medical attention.
More Information: â€œAbout
Heat-Related Illnessesâ€ brochures are free at the
Mesa Fire Departmentâ€™s Fire and Life Safety
Education Office located at 13 West First Street,
Mesa, AZ 85201.
Return to Fire and
Life Safety Education Page