Temperatures forecasted to reach record-levels today

By MICHAEL GLOVER

michael.glover@examiner.net



Sick of the heat?

Thirteen people in Eastern Jackson County apparently got sick because of the heat.

The Independence Health Department reported eight heat-related illnesses in the city during this seven-day heat wave. The Central Jackson County Fire Protection District reported four or five heat-related cases in its coverage area. Most of the cases were in Blue Springs, according to CJC assistant chief Eddie Saffel.

None of the stricken have died from the heat.

In Independence, most of the illnesses stemmed from young men who worked outside, city Health Director Larry Jones said. That too was the situation in Blue Springs and surrounding areas. Some cases there involved people mowing their lawns, and another was a delivery truck driver who succumbed, Saffel said.

A few of the Independence cases involved alcohol consumption. A few beers in the heat aren’t going to cause a problem, Jones said.

“It’s becoming extremely intoxicated and being in the heat is where there could be problems,” he added.

Signs of heat exhaustion include light-headedness, nausea or confusion, sleepiness or profuse sweating. Jones said the people were nauseated, passed out or were severely dehydrated. They were checked out at a doctor’s office or emergency room.

“They heeded the warning signs in time to not be life-threatening,” Jones said.

In Blue Springs, CJC transported the people to the hospital. They were released after brief stays, Saffel said.

Forecasters predict Saturday will be hottest day, with heat indices soaring to around 110 degrees. The string of 90-plus degree days started last Sunday.

The National Weather Service extended an excessive heat warning for the Jackson County and surrounding counties until 7 p.m. Saturday. Forecasters then expect a cold front to sweep into the area, lowering high temperatures into the 80s.

Jones advises the public not to ignore preventative steps for staying safe.

He urges those who don’t have a place to take shelter from the heat go to a “cooling center” where air conditioning and cold water are available.

There are two centers in Independence: the Salvation Army at 14700 E. Truman Road, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Sunday and the Roger T. Sermon Community Center at 201 N. Dodgion St., open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The centers will be open Saturday but won’t be expected to be serving as cooling centers after Saturday. However, they will still be open during their normal business hours.

Six people on Friday used the Sermon Center, where the temperature was 72 degrees inside, as a cooling center, according to the front desk clerk.

Two Kansas City, Kan., residents, a 79-year-old man and 59-year-old woman died of apparent heat-related illness earlier this week. The home had no open doors or windows and no air conditioning.

Officials say the elderly and chronically ill are more likely to be victims of the heat. That’s why residents are encouraged to check on their elderly family members and neighbors.

Independence or CJC have not had any reports of elderly people suffering from heat-related issues.



TIPS TO PREVENT HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS:
 

Increase your fluid intake. Drink more liquid than your thirst indicates. Drink non-alcoholic and caffeine-free liquids like water and juices. Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing. When working outside, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually.