As we head into the summer season, Mayor Chuck Cahn and the Cherry Hill Office of Emergency Management remind residents to be smart and stay safe during high heat and humidity.
When temperatures reach dangerous levels, there are three facilities in the community where those who need relief from the heat can come inside and enjoy the air conditioning:
- The Cherry Hill Carman Tilelli Community Center, 820 Mercer St.
- The Cherry Hill Public Library, 1100 N. Kings Highway (open until 9:30 p.m.)
- The Cherry Hill Mall, Haddonfield Road (open until 9:30 p.m.)
When the temperatures and humidity rise, it is important to limit your time outdoors, stay hydrated, and remember to check on neighbors who may need assistance - particularly the elderly and individuals with limited mobility. Senior citizens, children and pets are especially vulnerable in extreme temperatures.
According to statistics provided by the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services, more than 1,200 New Jerseyans visit the Emergency Room every year for severe sunburn and other heat-related illnesses. Overexposure to the heat can cause as many as 170 hospitalizations in the state every year, and the majority of those cases involve a hospital stay of at least three days.
Prolonged heat and humidity are particularly dangerous for young children, the elderly, and those who have underlying health complications and mobility problems. Certain medications can also amplify the risks of overexposure.
The Cherry Hill OEM has put together valuable information to help residents of all ages stay cool and healthy through the impending summer months.
To avoid health complications from excessive heat:
• Stay as cool as possible, and avoid spending time in locations that are not air-conditioned. If you are without air conditioning in your home, spend time in public facilities that are, such as movie theaters, libraries, and shopping malls. Electric fans will provide some relief, but they will not prevent illness when the temperature passes 95 degrees. And fans will do absolutely no good if they’re kept in a room with the windows shut.
• Stay hydrated with water and other non-alcohol beverages, and make sure children, pets, and the elderly are also well-hydrated and that those with limited mobility have easy access to plenty of fluids.
• Wear loose, light-colored, lightweight clothing – including a hat when you’re outdoors.
• Limit outdoor activity during the day and restrict physical activities to the cooler early mornings or evenings.
• Never leave children, the elderly or disabled, or your pets in an enclosed car, even for just a minute. Temperatures can rise to dangerous levels in a matter of minutes.
• And if you are on any medications, consult your health care provider about whether your medication might increase your risk of heat-related illness.
Know the signs of heat stroke and exhaustion. Heat stroke sufferers can go from seemingly normal to very ill in just minutes, while heat exhaustion tends to build up over several days of high temperatures.
• Heatstroke sufferers need immediate medical attention. Symptoms include hot, dry skin; a body temperature of 106 degrees or more; an absence of sweat; and a rapid and strong pulse. Victims may become delirious or unconscious.
• Heat exhaustion is milder. Symptoms include pale, clammy skin and profuse sweating. Victims may feel lethargic, weak or dizzy and sometimes have headaches or cramps. Their body temperature will stay close to normal.
Summertime can be full of fun and relaxation – but it’s easy to forget that we should take it easy when the temperatures rise. For more information on summer safety, and for information on ways to prepare for summer-weather emergencies, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website at http://www.ready.gov/heat.
To reach the Cherry Hill Office of Emergency Management, contact OEM Coordinator Kevin Seta at (856) 432-8836, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For after-hours questions or concerns about a potential heat-related emergency, please call the Cherry Hill Police Department at (856) 665-1200. To report a true medical emergency, call 9-1-1.