Burlington County officials talk about the rising heat this summer

With temperatures increasing above 90 degrees, community members are encouraged to remain vigilant about the heat and use local resources if needed.

By Alison Lowery

July is bringing on the heat in Burlington County. With temperatures rising above 90 degrees, community members are encouraged to remain vigilant about the heat and use local resources if needed.

Director of the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders Kate Gibbs said that although Burlington County does not issue a traditional heat advisory, residents are not alone when temperatures increase above the normal range.

“We don’t have the traditional capacity to declare a heat advisory, but when temperatures get into dangerous levels, it’s important to protect residents …especially our most vulnerable populations,” Gibbs said.

Vulnerable groups include pets, seniors and small children who are susceptible to dehydration and heat exhaustion, according to Gibbs.

Gibbs said vulnerable populations will not always communicate the signs of heat exhaustion, so it is important for pet owners, neighbors and caretakers of elderly individuals to keep the health and well-being of these populations in mind as temperatures rise.

Gibbs said when there is a sustained temperature in the upper 90s to 100s for at least a few days, helpful information is advertised on the Burlington County website, at http://www.co.burlington.nj.us, the Burlington County Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BurlingtonCountyNJ/, in government buildings and libraries.

In addition, Gibbs said the county will also issue a public service announcement, reminding residents to stay hydrated, check on seniors and advise against community members leaving pets and children in a car for any reason. The announcement is not funded by taxpayer dollars and is used in all situations where inclement weather is present, according to Gibbs.

According to a release by the Red Cross, excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, it is vital to take them to a cooler spot, and lightly stretch the affected muscle, as well as replenish their fluids with a half a glass of cool water every 15 minutes.

Some of the other steps to slow down the symptoms of heat exhaustion include loosening tight clothing and spraying the person with water or applying cool, wet clothes or towels to the skin; fanning them; if conscious, give them small amounts of cool water to drink; and keep an eye out for changes in their condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, community members should call 911, according to the Red Cross.

“When temperatures are that high, even a short amount of sun exposure can lead to problems,’’ Gibbs said.

Gibbs said those experiencing high levels of heat can go to the Burlington County Library, and seniors in need of a fan or information can call the office on aging at (609) 265–5069. Although there is a limited supply of fans, they will be able to accommodate their needs or direct them to other programs that can.

“We always want to protect our residents, especially if they are in any kind of danger,’’ she said.