By Kellie Barker, Store Team Leader, Rommel’s Ace Hardware
Is this Maryland – or Florida? It’s hard to tell the difference in the heart of Summer. Excessive heat, as well as buckets of humidity, create misery for those unfortunate enough to have to work outside – or for the rest of us who choose to attend outdoor events like O’s games. With that in mind, here are a few hints to help you survive and even thrive as Summer blazes on.
Heat Wave Preparation
Install/maintain air conditioners. If you already have air conditioning, have a professional inspect your equipment and make repairs if necessary. High heat can cause appliances to fail, and the worst time to have an air conditioner break down is during a heat wave.
Buy an electric fan. Both ceiling and stand-alone fans help keep you cool by enhancing the evaporation of sweat on your skin. While these units don’t actually cool the air, they will help you feel cooler in your home.
Put up outdoor awnings or louvers. FEMA cites that these simple improvements to the home’s exterior provide more shade and can reduce the amount of heat that enters the home by as much as 80 percent.
Check your home’s insulation. If you have an air-conditioning unit, proper insulation will help keep the home cool during warm weather by reducing the amount of cool air that escapes. In addition to wall insulation, also check weather stripping on doors and windows. Also, use storm windows to help keep heat out.
Heat Wave Recovery
It’s important for people and their pets to tone down physical activity and not to over exert themselves during heat waves. The following tips will help you keep your cool:
Avoid strenuous activity. When you must do a lot of physical activity, save it for the coolest part of the day, usually between 4 and 7 a.m.
Stay indoors as much as possible. According to the American Red Cross, direct sunlight can make it feel as much as 15 degrees warmer. If you don’t have air conditioning, stay on the lowest floor of your home, out of the sunlight.
Wear appropriate clothing. It’s best to wear lightweight, light-colored clothing during warm weather. Light colors reflect away some of the heat.
Have a backup location. If your air conditioner fails or you do not have one, find a backup location such as a movie theater, mall or library with air conditioning and plan to go there during heat waves. Try to spend at least two hours a day in a cool place.
Drink plenty of fluids. The human body needs water to stay cool. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, keep hydrated by drinking lots of non-alcoholic liquids. Water is best for rehydration.
Your local Rommel’s Ace in Stevensville offers air conditioner units and fans, screen and glass repair, bottled water plus more helpful ideas to beat the heat. Visit us at 364 Thompson Creek Shopping Center or call 410-643-7702. Online Rommelsace.com.
Due to the excessive heat forecast for Wednesday, July 17th, through Friday, the 19th, the Department of Community Services will be opening their buildings for use by the general public from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The buildings include: Kent Island Senior Center, Grasonville Senior Center, Kramer Center, and Sudlersville Senior Center. Each building is air conditioned and has an ice machine and water readily available. Regularly scheduled classes and programs will proceed as normal; however, accommodations will be made for those in the community who are in need of a cool retreat for those days. Please contact this department at 410-758-0848 if you are aware of any vulnerable citizens who do not have access to a cool environment.
The following information is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Your body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating just isn’t enough. Your body temperature can rise to dangerous levels and you can develop a heat illness. Most heat illnesses occur from staying out in the heat too long. Exercising too much for your age and physical condition are also factors. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are most at risk. Drinking fluids, replenishing salt and minerals and limiting time in the heat can help.
Heat-related illnesses include
• Heatstroke – a life-threatening illness in which body temperature may rise above 106° F in minutes; symptoms include dry skin, rapid, strong pulse and dizziness
• Heat exhaustion – an illness that can precede heatstroke; symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a fast, weak pulse
• Heat cramps – muscle pains or spasms that happen during heavy exercise
• Heat rash – skin irritation from excessive sweating
For additional heat safety & preparedness information, visit the following website: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml and call 911 in the event of an emergency! Stay safe and cool!
With a scorching-hot summer reaching a point of devastation this past weekend, Secretary of Aging Gloria Lawlah urged Marylanders to check on any older or disabled friends, neighbors or family members to make sure they have access to adequate resources during this difficult time. Governor Martin O’Malley issued a State of Emergency on Saturday in the wake of a violent, hurricane-like storm called a derecho which covered the state, causing widespread power outages, snarling traffic, and complicating relief efforts to combat the intense heat in the region during the month. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) posted on its website a list of cooling centers operating around the state, some steps to take to avoid heat-related illness, and a map showing where power outages occurred in the region.
“The storm that touched down on Friday continues to cause a great deal of pain and suffering for Maryland families – and especially so for the most fragile among us: seniors and the disabled,” according to Secretary Lawlah. “If you know of anyone without proper cooling and ventilation where they live, please help them get to one of the designated cooling centers and encourage them to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.”
During the past two weeks, a string of days with temperatures hovering in the 90’s and heat indices rising to a hundred degrees or more caused MEMA and health departments in the local jurisdictions to open cooling centers and alert the public to the dangers of such extreme heat. The situation went from bad to worse late Friday night when an unexpectedly violent storm system quickly wreaked havoc across a wide swath of the Mid-Atlantic states, including Maryland.
A reported 840,000 Marylanders lost electricity because of the storm, trees and branches littered roadways in the wake of the powerful winds, and many traffic lights are still out across the State. The debris-filled roads, numerous detours, and non-working traffic lights have been frustrating and confusing to many drivers. Because the sweltering heat continues, many families without power are staying with friends or relatives, or renting rooms at local hotels.
For updated information, visit the Department of Aging’s website at www.aging.maryland.gov and its Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/MarylandDepartmentofAging.