BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Heat can turn dangerous, even deadly, very fast. Livingston Parish Public Schools even sent bottled water home with their kids on the bus. The heat has had first responders busy over the last few days, and they have some important tips for residents.
With the heat index reaching triple digits, Sara Carter is watching her kids closely.
She’s making sure they take plenty of breaks and she came prepared.
“Ice water, frozen yogurt tubes that you put in the freezer and they stay cold. Other than that, sunscreen and tank tops,” Carter said.
Those aren’t bad tips to follow when learning to cope with high temps. East Baton Rouge Parish emergency workers responded to 16 heat-related calls in the past three days,” according to Brad Harris, unit commander with EMS. “You kind of have to be a detective and find out what caused them to pass out and a lot of time with this heat that is the case."
Harris says it’s good for the public to know the necessary steps in a serious situation.
First, people need to recognize the three stages of heat emergencies.
“Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke,” Harris explained. “Heat strokes are the most dangerous type of heat-related emergency. That’s when the person becomes unresponsive.”
Harris says some victims stop sweating.
“Their body is just not able to release that fluid anymore," he said.
If you happen to witness this, the National Safety Council has a long list of dos and don’ts for bystanders. For example, do call 911, move the victim to a cool place, and remove unnecessary clothing. Experts say do not force someone to drink liquids or apply rubbing alcohol to the skin.
Harris says heat-related illnesses come on quick, so cooling the victim down is key. There are two types of cooling, according to EMS. They include passive cooling, which would involve moving someone into the shade or air conditioning, and active cooling, which is applying an ice pack.
But cooling someone down too fast, like by submerging them in an ice bath, can lead to shock.
“Maybe put some cool towels around your neck and face,” Harris said. “So if you see someone that’s out in the sun and they’re just not acting normal or they’re saying things that just don’t make sense, you might want to check on them to make sure they are hydrated.”
To avoid that from happening, when you do go outside for a play date, do as the Carters do: drink plenty of water and choose your spot very carefully.
“We came to this park because it’s shaded. It’s got a lot of trees," she said.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) released a statement Monday, Aug. 12 encouraging the community to “use caution if working or taking part in any outdoor activities due to dangerous heat indices of 110 or higher in some places. The National Weather Service (NWS) offices covering Louisiana have issued Heat Advisories due to the conditions.”
Due to the high temps, all Livingston Parish Public School bus riders are being given water for the bus ride home. Administrators say students are allowed to bring water as well.