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Triple-digit temps have arrived. Here’s how you can stay safe

Updated May 17, 2024 - 1:36 pm

It’s that time again – triple-digit weather is upon the Las Vegas Valley.

As the days get hotter – and stay hot — county and health district officials are launching a campaign to remind residents how to stay safe and cool in the summer months.

In 2023, the county coroner and medical examiner’s office determined that heat had played a factor in 307 deaths. That’s up from 169 heat-related deaths in 2022.

“This year, we’re really trying to get the message out sooner rather than later,” County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick said. “We have so many new people that have come to Clark County, and we just want to remind them of what it’s like to live in the desert.”

The informational campaign, dubbed “Beat the Heat SNV,” aims to warn Southern Nevadans of the dangers of heat as higher temperatures begin to become more frequent.

Those higher temperatures can affect some people more severely than others, officials warned.

Elderly people, pregnant people, children and those with chronic medical conditions are most susceptible to heat-related illness, Southern Nevada Health District Officer Fermin Leguen said.

Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck said the Fire Department responds to hundreds, if not thousands, of calls annually related to heat-related injuries and illnesses.

“Here in Southern Nevada, it’s our number one risk factor,” he said.

Steinbeck warned against leaving children or pets in vehicles, even for a short period of time.

“I know what it’s like when you have a kid and they’re asleep and in the car seat and you don’t want to wake them up,” Steinbeck said. “Wake them up, pick them up, take them into the store with you. Don’t leave them there even for a short time at all.”

If you see a child or pet locked in a hot vehicle, Steinbeck advised calling 911. Leaving animals alone in cars during times of extreme heat is against county code.

Steinbeck warned against excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption during the hot parts of the day and advised wearing lightweight, loose-fitting and light-colored clothing to stay cool.

It’s also important to keep an eye out for symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, officials said.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include muscle spasms, heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, headache, pale or clammy skin and rapid heartbeat.

Heatstroke, which occurs when the body reaches a temperature above 104, can cause an altered mental state, hot and dry skin, rapid pulse or unconsciousness.

If you believe someone is suffering from a heat-related illness, call 911. It’s also important to move that person to a cooler environment right away, loosen their clothing, hydrate them with water and apply cool compresses.

County officials said it’s important to always have water on hand and to stay hydrated, especially while outdoors. Avoiding the outdoors in the afternoon, which is often the hottest part of the day, also can reduce the risk of heat-related illness.

For those who are experiencing homelessness, the county activates “cooling stations” at locations throughout the community while excessive heat warnings are in place. Call 211 to find locations or visit HelpHopeHome.org.

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on X.

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