By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon residents have been dealing with extreme heat all week as heat indices top 100 degrees.
Extreme heat kills more people than any other weather event in this country, according to the American Red Cross.
An extreme heat event is defined as a “series of hot days, much hotter than average for a particular time and place.” And climate change is making extreme heat events more frequent, more severe and last longer.
Yukon Deputy Fire Chief Kyle Trumbly is asking residents to remain vigilant and aware during periods of extreme heat like now.
“So far, everyone seems to be abiding by the rules associated with heat emergencies, extreme temperatures and how to keep themselves medically safe,” Trumbly said.
Yukon Fire personnel have not seen much of an increase in heat-related medical calls – at least not yet.
“We usually see it pick up the longer it consistently stays hot,” Trumbly explained. “At the very beginning, people are aware if it’s going to be 98 or 100 degrees the next day.
“When it’s hot for a consistently long time, people tend to ‘let their guard down’ and want to carry on with their normal activities. Maybe they don’t think about the dangers of heat exhaustion, heat stress and heat stroke.”
Yukon’s deputy fire chief offered common-sense advice to Yukon residents so they can stay safe during these very high temperatures:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of cool fluids – slowly and consistently throughout the day
- Wear loose clothing when possible
- Avoid ingesting anything that can cause dehydration
- Take regular breaks, drink water and find some shade during any outdoor activities
- Keep a moist towel around your neck when working outside
The public is advised to be weather-aware in times like these.
“We encourage people to choose the early morning or late evening to do any physical activities that are going to be outside,” Trumbly added. “Hopefully, they can perform some of those things when the temperatures are the coolest.
“’Listen’ to your body.”
The Yukon Fire Department also rearranges its schedule during extreme heat to conduct any firefighter training or outside fire station maintenance early in the morning – when it’s no so hot.
“We do that to keep our firefighters from having undue stress during the heat,” Trumbly explained. “We understand they are going to be out there taking care of our citizens whenever the temperatures are at their highest.”
Matt Trotter, regional communications director for the American Red Cross, encourages people across Oklahoma to visit redcross.org/heat to access information about extreme heat safety.
“Extreme heat is the most dangerous type of severe-weather event in the U.S., but we can take action to prepare our loved ones and communities for extreme heat events and related power outages,” Trotter said.
Yukon residents are reminded the National Weather Service issues heat advisories and excessive heat warnings when unusual periods of hot weather are expected. So, people should listen to local weather forecasters.