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Public Information Statement

Statement as of 6:05 AM CDT on July 31, 2014


... Today is National heat stroke awareness day...

Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United
States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. Heat-related
illnesses can range from heat cramps to heat exhaustion to more
serious heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires
immediate medical attention.

Yesterday, we covered how to recognize the symptoms of heat stroke
and how to assist a victim of heat stroke. Today, we will discuss
how quickly the sun can heat a vehicle, in addition to measures on
keeping children safe from heat exposure.

(1.) How fast can the sun heat a car?

The sun's shortwave radiation heats objects that it strikes. These
objects heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection, and also
give off longwave radiation which is very efficient at warming the
air trapped inside a vehicle.

Studies have shown that an enclosed vehicle can warm from a safe
temperature to unsafe in a matter of only a few minutes. For
example, an enclosed 80 degree vehicle in full sun can warm to 100
degrees fahrenheit in only 10 minutes, increasing to 110 degrees in
20 minutes. Objects within the vehicle can become scalding hot. A
dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of
180 to over 200 degrees fahrenheit.

(2.) Never leave children, disabled adults, or pets in parked
vehicles

Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in
parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is an acute
condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can
handle. Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day. Studies have
shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise
to a dangerous level for children, pets, and even adults. Leaving
the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the
heating rate. The effects can be more severe on children because
their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults.

(3.) Safety tips for children

* make sure your child's safety seat and safety belt buckles are not
too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system,
especially when your car has been parked in the heat.
* Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even with the
windows down.
* Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.
* Always lock car doors and trunks--even at home--and keep Keys out
of children's reach.
* Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach
your destination. Do not ever leave sleeping infants in the car.
* Beat the heat--check the back seat!

For more information on heat safety, consult the National Weather
Service heat safety awareness Page at: www.NWS.NOAA.Gov/os/heat.


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