With heat at record-breaking highs, residents want to know what steps they can take to keep themselves safe from the rising temperatures.
By ALISON LOWERY
Summer has arrived in Camden County, and the temperatures are at record-breaking highs. Many residents want to know the steps they can take to keep themselves safe from the rising heat.
The Camden County health officer will declare a heat emergency when there are two consecutive days over 92 degrees, according to Camden County Freeholder and liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services for Camden County Carmen Rodriguez. Last week, temperatures reached into three digits, the first time in years and an emergency was declared.
The heat serves as a hazard to the community, but especially those in “sensitive populations,” according to Rodriguez. Vulnerable groups include pets, seniors and children who are susceptible to dehydration.
“We have a responsibility to take care of those around us,’’ Rodriguez said. “You may not realize how much your body is suffering.’’
Rodriguez said dehydration is a slow process and vulnerable populations may not realize until symptoms show. Pet owners and caretakers need to stay vigilant of the health and well being of pets and children because they may not be able to effectively communicate the symptoms of dehydration.
Neighbors and all community members play a vital role in keeping seniors safe by lending assistance if needed.
“We need to take a moment and pause from the day-to-day to check up on them,’’ Rodriguez said.
Residents in Camden County age 60 and older with an income of $25,000 or less are eligible to receive a fan at no cost. To request a fan or to obtain more information, call the Camden County Division of Senior Services at (856) 858–3220.
To avoid heat-related illness, the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services recommends avoiding spending time in the sun or wear head/eye covering; use air conditioners and fans; watch for medications that cause an adverse reaction in hot weather; stay hydrated; and monitor symptoms of dehydration and heat stress, which include decreased energy, slight loss of appetite, faintness, lightheadedness and nausea.
According to a release from Camden County, serious signs of heat stress include unconsciousness, rapid heartbeat, throbbing headache, dry skin, chest pain, mental confusion, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, staggering and difficulty breathing. People experiencing these symptoms should get immediate medical attention. If one is a witness to anyone experiencing these symptoms, while waiting for help, move the person to a cool area, remove excess clothing, spray with water and fan the person. In an emergency, dial 911.
Designated cooling spots are as followed:
· Cherry Hill Public Library from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· Cherry Hill Municipal building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· Cherry Hill Mall from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
· Gloucester City Fire Department from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· Gloucester Township Borough Hall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· Gloucester Township Hider Lane Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· Haddonfield Mabel Kay House from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· Berlin Boro Community Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· Berlin Township Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· Voorhees Library Regional Branch from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
· Voorhees Town Center from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.