by Mike Ferguson
(St. Charles, MO) – Summer may be known as the most care-free time of year, but taking care to do a little planning could keep the fun times coming and save a life at the same time.
While the extreme heat hasn’t come to the Show Me State yet this year, it’s likely to move through at some point. Nicole Hawkins from the Red Cross wants everyone prepared to avoid heat related illnesses, including dehydration and heat stroke.
Everyone can be impacted by the heat. Hawkins suggests keeping a particularly close eye on small children and the elderly, who are the most at risk.
When extreme heat and is in the forecast, some simple steps can make a big difference.
You may have heard someone say when you are thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Hawkins explains there is some truth to that. That’s why keeping water on hand during the summer is important. Beyond thirst, other signs of problems from the heat to watch for include “…if someone stops sweating and it’s really hot out, that’s a clear sign that something’s wrong and you need to get inside and cool off.
“If someone feels confused or disoriented, that’s an even bigger problem.”
In that case, she says medical attention is needed right away.
In this week’s “Missouri Viewpoints”, Hawkins also has advice for planning road trips and information on the Red Cross’ new swimming app that can help you teach your child to swim.
Being in the water is, of course, a Missouri tradition in the summer. Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Stacey Mosher works with the Water Patrol Division and reminds boaters that they may need to get in front of a computer before they get behind the wheel of a boat.
“Anyone born after January 1st, 1984 has to keep in mind that to operate a boat on Missouri’s waterways, you have to have a boat education card. A successful completion of a class and that education card has to be carried with you at all times.”
The class can be taken online and the card can be printed from your computer.
In addition to teaching about Missouri’s waterway laws, the course also has some safety advice. It can also be taken at some Highway Patrol Troop Headquarters around the state.
Mosher encourages all boaters to keep a charged cell phone with them. By dialing *55, you will be connected to the Patrol division. That service also works for those on the highways.
In addition to the safety precautions all boaters should take, Cpl. Mosher recommends a basic mechanical check before you go out on the water – especially when using older boats. In particular, she recommends making sure the cables are in good shape and the battery is not drained.
“When you’re out listening to your radio and you’ve got phones plugged in and you’ve got chargers plugged in with ipods and ipads, all that is a drain on the battery that once only had to start the boat.”
She also recommends keeping plenty of drinking water and a first aid kit on board.
On the web:
Red Cross: www.RedCross.org
Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Water Patrol Division: http://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/MSHPWeb/WaterPatrol/