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.
Brochures: About Heat Related Illness
available at no charge at the Mesa Fire and Medical
Department's Fire and Life Safety Education Office
located at 13 West First Street in Mesa.
Return to Fire and
Life Safety Education Page