Weekend promises to be a scorcher

CONYERS -- A scorching heat wave is expected to arrive this weekend, with temperatures possibly in the triple digits in many parts of Georgia. Extreme heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the U.S., claiming approximately 400 lives across the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so it is best to prepare now to reduce your risk of heat-related illness.

"Extreme heat can be dangerous and deadly, particularly for the elderly and infants, but staying indoors and drinking plenty of water will help you stay cool and hydrated when temperatures rise," said Rockdale Sheriff Jeff Wigington, director of Conyers-Rockdale Emergency Management Agency.

Wigington and Ready Georgia also give these 10 tips to help make your family safer during summer weather:

-- Drink plenty of fluids. During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glass (16 to 32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour. If you have a medical condition, consult your doctor.

-- Stay indoors in air-conditioned spaces as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun. Government facilities available during daytime hours are public libraries, parks, and the senior center (for those age 50 and over). Not all facilities are open during the weekend -- call to make sure.

-- If you must be outdoors, dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.

-- Familiarize yourself with the medical conditions that can result from over-exposure to heat, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, to help lessen health threats and harm.

-- Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.

-- Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.

-- Postpone outdoor activities and take shelter in a home, building or hard top automobile if severe weather is headed your way.

-- Make sure pets have plenty of water and shade, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot.

-- Conserve water in your household to help prevent drought: wash only full loads of dishes and laundry, fix household leaks and install low-flow toilets and shower heads.

-- Closely monitor a local radio station, TV station or NOAA Weather Radio for the latest information on excessive heat watches and warnings.

To help families prepare, Ready Georgia, a statewide emergency preparedness campaign created by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security, offers the tools needed to make an emergency supply kit, develop a communications plan and stay informed about potential threats. Visitors to Ready Georgia's website (http://www.ready.ga.gov) can create an online profile to receive a tailored plan for the entire family that includes the specific amount of supplies to put in their household kits. In addition, Ready Georgia's free mobile app (found at http://www.ready.ga.gov/mobileapp) provides alerts and preparedness information for people on the go.