Emergency and Safety Information

Heat Stress

The Wilmington area can experience extremely hot weather in the summer. Take special precautions to avoid heat-related illness in unusually hot weather when working outdoors or in unconditioned indoor environments. Heat-related illness, which can progress to life-threatening heat stroke, is preventable.

Tips For Keeping It Cool*

  • Drink small amounts of cool water frequently throughout the day, regardless of your activity level.
  • Replace salt and minerals lost due to sweat with a sports beverage or other refreshment.
  • Wear lightweight,light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and SPF 15+ sunscreen.
  • Schedule outdoor activities in hot weather to morning hours and limit sun exposure during mid-day hours.
  • Pace work, play and excercise in the heat. Start slowly and pick up the pace gradually.
  • Monitor yourself for signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
  • Take time to cool down and rest often in shady areas. A few hours in air conditioning can help you stay cooler for longer while in the heat.
  • Use a buddy system. Monitor the condition of friends and co-workers and have someone do the same for you.
  • Monitor those at high risk, including those who are overweight, have heart disease, high blood pressure or take certain medications.
  • Take time to acclimate to heat and humidity. A heat wave can be stressful to the body.

*Adapted from "Be Safe in Hot Weather" by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Caring for Heat Related Emergencies

  • Move the person to a cool place
  • Loosen tight clothing
  • Remove perspiration soaked clothing
  • Apply cool, wet towels to the skin
  • Fan the person
  • If the person is conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink.

Three Types of Heat-related Emergencies

  • Heat Cramps - painful muscle spasms that usually occur in the legs and abdomen, the least severe of the heat related emergencies
  • Heat Exhaustion - early indicator that the body's cooling system is becoming overwhelmed, signals include:
    • Cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin.
    • Headache, nausea, dizziness
    • Weakness, exhaustion
    • Heavy sweating
  • Heat Stroke - a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body's systems are overwhelmed by heat and stop functioning, signals include:
    • Red, hot, dry skin
    • Changes in level of consciousness
    • Vomiting

Related Links

CDC Extreme Heat Prevention Guide
About National Weather Servic Heat Index
National Weather Service - Wilmington