As the Heat Index is expected to rise this weekend, the Michigan City Fire Department is urging residents and visitors to play it safe by beating the heat. This summer, the Michigan City Fire Department along with LaPorte County EMS will respond to numerous calls for heat-related emergencies. While many heat-related problems are not life threatening, hundreds die across the nation each year due to heat-related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. CDC records also show that from 1979 to 2003, excessive heat exposure caused 8,015 deaths in the United States. Those most at risk are the elderly and children under the age of five. People who show signs or symptoms of heat-related illnesses need immediate medical care and are urged to dial 9-1-1. Heat-related emergencies can be avoided if you follow a proactive plan. The following tips are geared at minimizing the risk of heat-related problems:
• Drink plenty of cool fluids throughout the day, but avoid those that contain caffeine, alcohol or a high sugar content, since they actually contribute to dehydration and make a heat-related illness worse.
• Stay indoors in an air-conditioned place and limit you outdoor activities to the early morning or evening hours, avoiding the mid-day sun.
• If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
• Check frequently on the elderly, young children and others at higher risk for heat-related illnesses.
• And don’t forget your animals. Keep them in an air-conditioned area if possible and provide plenty of fresh water.
Cooling centers will be available at the following locations:
-Michigan City Police Station (24 hours) 1201 E. Michigan Blvd.
-Michigan City Fire Administration Building (8am-4pm, Monday-Friday) 2510 E. Michigan Blvd.
-Michigan City Senior Center (8:00am-4:00pm, Monday-Friday) 2 on the Lake
-Michigan City City Hall (8:00am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday) 100 E. Michigan Blvd.
-Michigan City Public Library (during regular business hours) 100 E. 4th Street
-Keys to Hope Community Resource Center (8:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday, 8:00am-12pm, Saturday-Sunday) 1802 Franklin Street.