FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 8, 2016
CONTACT: HSEMDPIO@iowa.gov or (515) 725-3231
Gov. Branstad proclaims June 9 as Heat Awareness Day
DES MOINES – Governor Terry Branstad has signed a proclamation, and the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) and National Weather Service (NWS) will recognize June 9, 2016, as Heat Awareness Day in the state of Iowa.
Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States. According to the NWS, an average of 130 people per year in the past 30 years have died due to heat-related illnesses.
“What makes this statistic especially distressing is that heat illnesses are quite preventable,” said Lucinda Parker, public information officer with HSEMD. “When the temperature rises, it’s important to stay hydrated, stay cool, and as much as possible, stay indoors.”
Parker said if you must be outdoors when it’s very hot to try and seek shade or wear a wide-brimmed hat. Staying hydrated means drinking plenty of water, and limiting your alcohol intake. “Alcoholic beverages may seem to quench your thirst, but they actually cause your body to be more dehydrated,” she advised.
In addition, it’s important to protect pets and children from the heat. Fur coats can be hot! Keeping your dog or cat’s hair trimmed to around an inch will go a long way to keeping them cooler in hot weather. And, leaving children or pets in a car, even when the temperature doesn’t seem very warm, can be lethal.
“Studies have shown the temperature in an enclosed vehicle can rise 20 degrees in as few as 10 minutes, and ‘cracking’ a window will have little effect in keeping the interior of a car cool,” Parker stated. “Leave pets at home, and make sure all children in your car have exited when you do.”
“Beat the heat – check the backseat!” she added.
The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management leads, coordinates and supports homeland security and emergency management functions in order to establish sustainable communities and ensure economic opportunities for Iowa and its citizens.
Brochures, fact sheets, posters, graphics, and audio actualities about heat safety are available for download on the Ready Iowa and National Weather Service websites. Additional information can be found on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube throughout the summer using hashtag #BeatTheHeat and #IAwx and #summersafety.
The proclamation text reads as follows:
WHEREAS, one of the most deadly weather phenomena to affect Iowans each summer is heat; and
WHEREAS, summer is a time when people engage in increased outdoor physical activity and attend large outdoor public gatherings, making them more vulnerable to the effects of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke when the heat index is high; and
WHEREAS, heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States and, on average, has caused more fatalities in the past 30 years than floods, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes; and
WHEREAS, the elderly, small children, people on certain medications and those with certain health conditions are especially susceptible to heat reactions; and
WHEREAS, the best defense against heat-related illnesses is prevention; and
WHEREAS, the National Weather Service, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department, and local emergency management agencies’ efforts to warn the population of the dangers of excessive heat can be reinforced through education, which leads to appropriate action on the part of local governments, businesses, industries, schools, hospitals, health care facilities, and especially individual citizens; and
WHEREAS,the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department and the National Weather Service stress the need and importance of preparedness for extreme heat by instruction in schools, by broadcasts over radio and television, and by distributing safety and preparedness publications:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terry E. Branstad, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proclaim June 9, 2016, as
HEAT AWARENESS DAY
in Iowa, and urge all Iowans to take due notice of this occasion, and to give appropriate attention to their necessary actions severe heat conditions.