Summer temperatures are reaching their peak in Arkansas this week, making outdoor activities uncomfortable and leading to wildfires, accoriding to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

Summer temperatures are reaching their peak in Arkansas this week, making outdoor activities uncomfortable and leading to wildfires, accoriding to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

ADEM issued tips to avoid heat-related problems.

Learn to identify heat-related illness

• Heat cramps are muscle contractions, usually in the muscles at the back of the calves. These cramps

seem to be connected to heat, dehydration,and poor conditioning, rather than to lack of salt or other

mineral imbalances. They usually improve with rest, drinking water and a cool environment.

• Heat exhaustion signs include paleness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fainting, and a moderately

increased temperature caused by the heat. Rest and water may help in mild heat exhaustion and ice packs

and a cool environment (with a fan blowing) may also help. More severely exhausted patients may need

IV fluids, especially if vomiting keeps them from drinking enough.

• Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness. It can occur even in people who are not exercising, if

the weather is hot enough. These people have warm, flushed skin, and do not sweat. A person with heat

stroke usually has a very high temperature (106 degrees F or higher), and may be delirious, unconscious,

or having seizures. These patients need to have their temperature reduced quickly, often with ice packs,

and must also be given IV fluids for re-hydration; they must be taken to the hospital as quickly as

possible and may have to stay in the hospital for observation since many different body organs can fail in

heat stroke.

To avoid heat-related illnesses:

• Don’t Dry Out.

Excessive perspiration will make you thirsty and deplete body fluids. Drink extra water or non-alcoholic liquids.

• Dress appropriately.

Loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing is best. Light colors throw back the sun’s rays. Sun bathing or working without a shirt can greatly increase your risk of sunburn and possibly skin cancer.

• Don’t overeat.

Stay away from heavy foods. Foods like salads and fresh fruits are good for you and don’t take unnecessary energy to digest.

• Check on elderly and shut-ins.

Call and visit relatives, friends and neighbors who may need assistance to get them through the heat wave.

• Make it easy on yourself.

If you work outdoors, pace yourself and be alert to signs of heat related problems. Do lawn and garden work early in the morning or late in the evening.

• Take care of animals.

Make sure that farm animals and pets have plenty of fresh water, adequate ventilation and shade to protect them from the sun.

• Traveling.

If you are planning a vacation or just taking a local trip, don’t forget to prepare your automobile. Excessive heat places extra stress on your car’s engine and tires. Check oil, coolant, belts, hoses and tire pressure. Store several bottles of drinking water in your car in case you break down.

Protect your home against wildfire

Wildfire danger is high across the state. If you live where there is an abundance of plants and other

vegetation that can easily catch fire, you may be vulnerable to wildfires and you should take the

following three simple steps to prepare.

Create a 30- to 100-Foot Safety Zone Around Your Home:

• Within this area, you can take steps to reduce potential exposure to flames and radiant heat. Homes built in pine forests should have a minimum safety zone of 100 feet. If your home sits on a steep slope, standard protective measures may not suffice. Contact your local fire department or forestry of fire for additional information.

• Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs. Clear all flammable vegetation.

• Remove leaves and rubbish from under structures and dispose of them properly.

• Thin a 15-foot space between tree crowns, and remove limbs within 15 feet of the ground.

• Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.

• Prune tree branches and shrubs within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney outlet.

• Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.

• Remove vines from the walls of the home.

• Mow grass regularly.

• Clear a 10-foot area around propane tanks and the barbecue. Place a screen over the

grill—use non-flammable material with mesh no coarser than one-quarter inch.

• Regularly dispose of newspapers and rubbish at an approved site. Follow local burning

regulations.

• Place stove, fireplace and grill ashes in a metal bucket, soak in water for two days, then

bury the cold ashes in mineral soil.

• Store gasoline, oily rags and other flammable materials in approved safety cans. Place

cans in a safe location away from the base of buildings.

• Stack firewood at least 100 feet away and uphill from your home. Clear combustible material within 20 feet. Use only UL-approved wood-burning devices.