Smith County emergency officials discuss annual heat response plan

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Although it's not technically summer, the hot weather is already here.

To help combat heat-related illnesses, the City of Tyler Fire Department brought together emergency agencies and human services entities from the city and Smith County to discuss the 2018 Heat Response Plan.

Among things discussed was the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and the ways to combat both.

Emergency officials say red-hot skin and no sweating are signs of heat stroke, which can cause brain damage, organ damage and even death.

"Heat emergencies can really sneak up on you if you're not taking care of yourself in the form of trying to stay out of the heat as best you can," says Tyler Fire Marshal Paul Findley. "If you have to be in the heat make sure that you stay hydrated."

Assistant Fire Chief Michael Frost says staying out of the heat as much as possible is also important. Frost says fans are helpful, but air conditioning is best and that those out in the sun should wear light, loose-fitting clothing.

The heat response plan also stresses the dangers of hot cars.

During the summer months, heat can build up inside a car rapidly within a matter of minutes, so children and pets should never be left unattended.

"If it's 90 degrees outside the temperatures in your car within 10-15 minutes are going to soar to 115 to 120," says Frost. "With that humidity even though your body is sweating it can't evaporate, so your body's cooling mechanism is basically shut off."

Officials recommend leaving something that you won't get out of the car with, like your shoe or cellphone, in the back seat with a pet or child to ensure they aren't left behind when getting out of the car.

Once the plan is finalized it will be posted on the City of Tyler's website.

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