As the City of Victoria’s EMS provider since 1995, the Victoria Fire Department is committed to helping residents enjoy a safe and fun summer. Here are some tips you can follow to avoid common summer hazards.
With this summer shaping up to be a real scorcher, it’s more important than ever to take steps to avoid heat exhaustion and heatstroke. If you plan to be outside on a hot day, drink plenty of fluids—particularly water or sports drinks—and take frequent breaks, either by going inside or by resting in the shade.
If you start to show signs of heat exhaustion—dizziness, acute thirst, nausea, weakness or heavy sweating—get to a cool spot immediately, loosen your clothing and drink some cool liquids. If you don’t start to feel better, seek medical attention.
Heatstroke occurs after heat exhaustion and can be deadly. A person experiencing heatstroke will have hot, dry, flushed skin and will no longer be sweating. The person may appear to be confused or extremely dizzy, or they may be unconscious. If you or someone else is experiencing heatstroke, call 911 right away. The person should be moved to a cool area, their clothes should be removed and their body should be cooled with ice or water.
If a hurricane or other serious storm knocks out our electrical service, many residents will rush to hook up their generators for emergency power. Before you turn your generator on, make sure you’re familiar with the manufacturer’s safety guidelines to prevent health and fire hazards.
Because generators can produce deadly carbon monoxide, you should always keep them outdoors on a level, non-flammable surface. Even then, make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. Remember that carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, so a carbon monoxide detector is the only sure way to know it’s there.
If you need to refuel your generator, make sure it’s turned off and completely cooled down. Use a funnel to prevent fuel from spilling.
Use an outdoor-rated extension cord to hook your generator up to one appliance at a time. Using a power strip can overload your generator and start a fire.
It’s always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher handy when operating, fueling or storing your generator.
If you plan to take your children swimming, remember that drowning can happen quickly and without warning. Even if there is a lifeguard present, you should supervise your child at all times, without being distracted by your phone or anything else.
Teach kids not to swim near drains or suction outlets, as the suction can cause them to get stuck.
If you have a pool at home, use fences, alarms or any other necessary measure to keep kids from getting into the pool when no one is around.
If you get a chance, learn CPR so you can provide first aid to a drowning victim. The Victoria Fire Department offers hands-only CPR lessons to groups of any size at no charge. To schedule a CPR lesson or other type of educational event, go to www.victoriatx.gov/fire and click on “Services and Forms.”
Robert T. Fox is the fire chief for the City of Victoria Fire Department