Heat can kill. That’s why Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the National Weather Service are reminding people of the dangers associated with extreme heat and to promote community safety and health. Heat Awareness Day is June 11.
Summer heat waves have been the biggest weather-related killers in Wisconsin for the past 50 years, far exceeding tornadoes, severe storms and floods combined. Heat is also a major weather-related killer in the United States. People at higher risk of a heat-related illness include:
• Older adults
• Infants and young children
• People with chronic heart or lung problems
• People with disabilities
• Overweight persons
• Those who work outdoors or in hot settings
• Users of some medications, especially those taken for mental disorders, movement disorder, allergies, depression, and heart or circulatory problems.
Many victims of heat-related deaths are socially isolated maintaining little contact with family and friends. This is why it is vitally important to check in on family, friends, and neighbors during extreme heat, especially those who are particularly vulnerable, like families with very young children, the elderly, and people who are on medications that could make them more susceptible to injury from extreme heat.
Many cities and counties across Wisconsin open Cooling Centers during periods of extreme heat. These centers are a great place for people to come into an air conditioned facility and get some relief from the heat. ReadyWisconsin will post a list of open Cooling Centers at readywisconsin.wi.gov.