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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 9, 2024

The Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has issued a Heat Emergency Alert from noon Tuesday, July 9, through 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, due to the National Weather Service forecast for extremely dangerous temperatures and heat index values.

A Heat Emergency Alert is declared when the temperature or heat index is forecast to be 105℉ or higher for a period of two days or more. While nighttime temperatures will be lower, they still pose a health threat with extended exposure.

Extreme heat affects the body's ability to regulate temperature, which can create dangerous conditions if appropriate safety measures are not taken. Heat may affect air quality, especially in urban areas, and may have a stronger impact on the elderly, children and sick persons. Symptoms of heat-related illnesses may include painful muscle spasms or cramps, pale or flushed skin that may be damp or cool, dizziness, nausea, headache and weakness in the early stages. In extreme cases, red, hot, dry skin, weak pulse, rapid breathing and changes in consciousness can occur, in which case residents should seek medical attention immediately by calling 9-1-1.

The County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Aging and Disability Resources has a limited number of free table-top fans for older adults and people with disabilities. Residents or caregivers are advised to call 240-777-3000 to check availability first before picking up their fan at HHS, located at 401 Hungerford Drive. The Unit is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Friday and from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. If callers hear a recorded message, it means all staff members are assisting other residents.

County facilities, including libraries, swimming pools, recreation centers and senior centers, are places to cool off during normal operating hours. Public locations such as indoor malls and movie theaters could also be utilized. Pool visitors are advised that County pools may reach capacity during the heat emergency alert. Before attending outdoor events, check with organizers, as some may be canceled or changed due to the extreme heat.

Free bottled water will be available on some of the buses for Montgomery County Ride On, extRa, Flex and Flash bus riders. Information on bus schedules is available on the Department of Transportation’s website and on the Ride On Trip Planner app.

During excessive heat, Progress Place in downtown Silver Spring will open during the day for individuals to escape the heat. Homeless shelters will be open 24/7 during the heat emergency for those who are staying there. Outreach workers and police will be encouraging those who are unsheltered to come inside during the excessive heat. Residents concerned about the well-being of a homeless individual should call the 24-hour Homeless Information Line at 240-907-2688. Outreach partners will attempt to locate the individual and offer resources and support.

The following precautions may help residents remain safe and comfortable during excessive heat days:

  • Stay indoors, whenever possible. Keep blinds or curtains closed to keep the inside cooler.
  • Keep in mind: Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they may not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a better way to cool off.
  • Use the stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature.
  • Avoid strenuous activities that can result in overexposure to the sun, such as sports and gardening. If you must do a strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning before 9 a.m.
  • If you are spending time outdoors, take frequent breaks in a cool, shaded location.
  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration, cramps, exhaustion or heat stroke can result from not drinking enough fluids. Water is the safest liquid to drink.
  • Avoid alcohol or caffeine.
  • When outdoors, wear proper protection from the sun. Light-colored clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are strongly recommended.
  • Never leave people or pets in a vehicle for ANY amount of time, even with the window open. The temperature inside parked cars can reach over 130 degrees in only a few minutes.
  • Monitor and frequently check on those at high risk. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
    • Infants and children up to four years of age.
    • Individuals 65 years of age and older.
    • Individuals who are ill or on certain medications.
    • Individuals who are overweight.

Heat exposure can be life-threatening. Should any of the following occur, get out of the heat, loosen any tight or heavy clothing and drink plenty of water:

  • Heat cramps: symptoms include painful muscle spasms, usually involving the abdominal muscles or legs.
  • Heat exhaustion: first signs are cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, dizziness, nausea, headache and weakness.

Heat stroke is the most serious type of overexposure.

  • Symptoms include: red, hot, dry skin, weak pulse, rapid breathing and changes in consciousness.
  • Seek medical attention immediately by calling 9-1-1
  • Help lower the person's temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath until help arrives. More info on heat stroke.

The Office of Animal Services will enforce Executive Regulation 17-17, Anti Cruelty Conditions for Dogs and Other Pets during the heat emergency. Pet owners must not leave pets unattended in vehicles or outdoors. The Montgomery County Office of Animal Services provides safety information for pet owners. To have an Animal Services Officer Dispatched in a non-emergency situation, patrons can call 301-279-8000.

Sign up for the County's Alert Montgomery notification system to receive emergency alerts regarding weather and other emergency information. The Alert Montgomery System provides accurate and immediate emergency notifications from Montgomery County to your cell, work, or home phones via text, email, or voice message to receive notifications about emergencies that may affect your home, workplace, child's school, or any other locations within the County. For general information about County programs and services, call 3-1-1. Information on heat emergency and hot weather safety tips is available on the Heat Emergency webpage.

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Release ID: 24-311
Media Contact: Mark Roper 240-962-1743
Categories: Public Safety