Authorities: Make sure you have a plan to stay cool this weekend

ALBANY — The National Weather Service is predicting dangerous heat this weekend, with temperatures in the 90s.

Steuben County Emergency Manager Tim Marshall said this afternoon the heat index value is expected to rise between 100-105 degrees. On Saturday, the heat index value is expected to be between 100-110 degrees.

Heat index measures the combined effect of both temperature and humidity. With several major events happening in the region that attract thousands of visitors, such as the Great Wellsville Balloon Rally and the Allegany County Fair, it is important to take some basic precautions to avoid any potential problems with the heat. 

“The most important thing is for people to limit their exposure as best they can,” Marshall said. “If people must be outside, stay hydrated, stay away from alcohol and caffeinated beverages and make sure to check on the elderly and the vulnerable.”

Marshall said people should never leave children or pets in a vehicle in this kind of weather.

“People should also limit their exercise and activities outside,” Marshall said. “On Sunday, the high is expected to be 85 degrees and there is a chance of thunderstorms. The higher humidity is going to be (this afternoon) through Saturday.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also weighed in.

Cuomo directed the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to offer extended hours at state swimming facilities during the heat wave to help New Yorkers beat the heat. The extended hours will begin Friday and continue through Sunday at certain State Parks, including Letchworth. 

"I urge New Yorkers to take any and all necessary precautions this weekend against extreme heat," Cuomo said. "State parks with swimming facilities will be open later, and if air conditioning is not available to you, there are public cooling stations all throughout the state. Be sure to check on neighbors and limit outdoor activity to ensure that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy through the extreme temperatures."

Vincent Azzarelli, a spokesman for the Chemung County Health Department, recommended residents take a few precautions to stay cool and prevent heat-related injuries.

Stay hydrated

Increase your water intake. If working or playing outside, you will need 2-4 cups of water an hour to keep your body temperature normal and to avoid dehydration. It is best to avoid sugary beverages, alcohol and caffeine. Remind others to drink plenty of water as well. During extreme heat, leave pets at home with plenty of water and a place to stay cool.

Stay cool

Seek shade when you are outside and close your blinds while indoors. Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing. Try a cool bath or shower during the day or evening. During a heat spell, don’t rely solely on a fan to keep cool; seek out air-conditioned spaces. Take advantage of “cooling centers” - a free, public location to keep out of the heat. Public pools and splash pads can also help to keep cool, but remember sunscreen. Finally, be aware of people at high risk for heat-related injuries and lend a helping hand. Check regularly on elderly or ill family, friends and neighbors.

Stay informed

Know the weather forecast and check for heat alerts when planning outdoor activities this weekend and throughout the summer. Strenuous outdoor activities should wait until a cooler day or a cooler time of day, like early morning or late evening. Learn the symptoms of heat-related illness. Dehydration starts with thirst and progresses to headache, faintness and confusion, particularly in the elderly. Heat exhaustion includes excessive sweating, cold clammy skin, dizziness, nausea and muscle cramps. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency. Symptoms include hot, dry skin, confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness. Call 911 if you suspect someone is experiencing heat stroke.