About five patients have sought treatment at a local hospital this summer for heat-related illnesses, but with temperatures expected to be at or possibly above 105 degrees in the coming days, people are advised to take precautions for their health and safety. Officials also urge caution to prevent grass fires as drought conditions persist.
Carla Tollett, marketing director at St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital, said, “We have had very few patients present to the Emergency Department with heat related emergencies,” which is good news.
But that may change if weather forecasts stay true and the heat dome remains.
John Pike with the National Weather Service in Norman, said forecasts show Oklahoma is in store for triple-digit temperatures every day through next week, with highs up to 105 degrees.
“It will be mostly dry heat,” he said.
Tollett, providing information from the CDC, said residents should take precautions to stay safe.
The CDC reports people suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and properly cool themselves. Higher risk factors include age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use. Children, the elderly and people with chronic diseases are at highest risk, the CDC reports.
During these type of heat waves, local emergency officials remind everyone the importance of drinking plenty of water and to check on their neighbors, especially the elderly. It’s also important to make sure pets have plenty of water and adequate shade.
With high temperatures and drought conditions worsening, local officials also are watching grass fire conditions.
Pottawatomie County commissioners are expected to discuss Monday if there’s a need to enact a burn ban.
Don Lynch, Shawnee/Pottawatomie County emergency management director, said they don’t know if a ban is needed or not, but he will look at the drought monitor and conditions over the weekend.
“Fire wise, we’re holding pretty well and people are being cautious,” Lynch said. “We’re not having too many fires, thankfully.”
Lynch said officials always urge fire caution and said the area is rapidly moving into more dormant grasses, which increases the danger.
Paul Simpson, rural fire coordinator, said as of Thursday, none of the representatives from the county’s 12 fire departments had reported problems with grass fires or having trouble getting any fire occurrences under control.
While grass fires will happen, Simpson brought up last year’s fires around the area, as well as 2005-06 season, which was significant.
“It wouldn’t take much heat to be in the same boat,” Simpson said.
Watch for updates.