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Jul-11-2014 05:15printcomments

Salem, Willamette Valley Brace for Days of Hot, Dry Weather

Salem-News.com has tips and places you can go to protect or cool off you and your family during the heat wave.

Salem Oregon Heat
Temperatures in Salem and throughout the mid-Willamette Valley are expected to reach near 95, or above over the coming days. Photo's: Kevin Hays

(SALEM, Ore. ) - Temperatures in Salem and throughout the mid-Willamette Valley are expected to reach near 95, or above over the next seven days.

With that news, here are some tips to protect you and your family from the heat. Along with water and fire safety tips, and some places you can go to cool off.

Salem-News.com checked in Thursday afternoon with a couple of local mini-mart's and the store has been about the same as with past warm weekend weather. They said they are having increased sales on such items as alcohol, soft drinks, and ice, and they are stocking up expecting that trend to continue through next week.

Salem area grocery stores I talked with also added people hitting their shelves hard for bottled water, fruits, Gatorade and other energy drinks, to all the fixings for outdoor cooking and camping.

Salem area ice cream shops, movie theaters, and local swimming pools are also expecting some "extra" people over the next few days looking to cool off as well.

Expect Heavy Traffic Heading to the Oregon Coast:

Hotels and restaurants along the Oregon Coast from Newport to Seaside are also gearing up for what they expect to be a flood of people from the valley coming over in the next few days to escape the heat. According to the National Weather Service, daily high temperatures along the central Oregon Coast will range between 65 and 75 degrees over the next five days.

Salem Kroc Center:

Open Swim Hours:

Friday - 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Saturday - Noon to 9:00 p.m.

Sunday - 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Cost is $5 for kids 17 and younger, and those 62 or older, and $7 for adults. That includes all other activities at the center, and you can leave and come back later without having to pay again.

Since the weather is going to be hot this weekend, the Kroc Center will also be operating their splash pads.

The Salem Kroc Center is located at 1865 Bill Frey Drive NE. For more information call 503-566-5762.

Salem Splash Fountains:

The City of Salem has opened up the self-operating spray fountains at Salem and Keizer city parks. They will be open every day until 8:00 p.m. The splash fountains at Riverfront Park and River Road Park will be open two hours earlier than the splash fountains at the smaller neighborhood parks.

Splash Fountain Locations:

10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Riverfront Park, 200 Water Street NE Englewood Park, 1260 19th Street NE

River Road Park, 3045 River Road N Fairmount Park, 650 Rural Street S

Noon to 8:00 p.m.

Northgate Park, 3575 Fairhaven Avenue NE

Wes Bennett Park, 2200 Baxter Road SE

West Salem Park 265 Rosemont Avenue NW

For Swimmers and Boaters:

Make sure you and all children using Oregon waterways to cool off from the heat, are using U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets.

It does not take much for you or your child to be swept away from fast moving underwater currents in area rivers and creeks. Also, please don’t drive your boat while drinking alcohol, have a designated driver.

Don’t End Up in the Emergency Room:

Here are some tips to make sure you or a loved one does not end up in the emergency room this summer.

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 glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.

Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.

Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol, or large amounts of sugar — these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.

Replace Salt and Minerals:

Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour.

A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.

Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen: Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Sunburn affects your body's ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and damages the skin.

If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels) 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.

Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully:

If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Try to rest often in shady areas so that your body's thermostat will have a chance to recover.

Pace Yourself:

If you are not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or at least into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.

Stay Cool Indoors:

Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place.

If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library — even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.

Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.

Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.

Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.

Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.

Use a Buddy System:

When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness.

If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.

Monitor Those at High Risk:

Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Infants and children up to four years of age are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.

People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to change in temperature.

People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat. People who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness.

People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.

Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

Adjust to the Environment:

Be aware that any sudden change in temperature, such as an early summer heat wave, will be stressful to your body. You will have a greater tolerance for heat if you limit your physical activity until you become accustomed to the heat. If you travel to a hotter climate, allow several days to become acclimated before attempting any vigorous exercise, and work up to it gradually.

Remember to keep cool and use common sense:

Avoid hot foods and heavy meals — they add heat to your body. Drink plenty of fluids and replace salts and minerals in your body.

Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.

Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and in places of potential severe exposure such as beaches.

Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car.

Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.

Extreme Heat Safety Tips For Your Pets:

Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle—hyperthermia can be fatal. Even with the windows open, a parked automobile can quickly become a furnace in no time. Parking in the shade offers little protection, as the sun shifts during the day.

Always carry a gallon thermos filled with cold, fresh water when traveling with your pet.

The right time for playtime is in the cool of the early morning or evening, but never after a meal or when the weather is humid.

Street smarts: When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog standing on hot asphalt. His or her body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.

A day at the beach is a no-no, unless you can guarantee a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water for your companion. Salty dogs should be rinsed off after a dip in the ocean.

Provide fresh water and plenty of shade for animals kept outdoors; a properly constructed doghouse serves best. Bring your dog or cat inside during the heat of the day to rest in a cool part of the house.

Be especially sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather. Brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and shih tzus, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. And please be alert for coolant or other automotive fluid leaking from your vehicle. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste, and ingesting just a small amount can be fatal. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect that your animal has been poisoned.

Good grooming can stave off summer skin problems, especially for dogs with heavy coats. Shaving the hair to a one-inch length—never down to the skin, please, which robs Rover of protection from the sun—helps prevent overheating. Cats should be brushed often.

Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.

Having a backyard barbecue? Always keep matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles and insect coils out of pets' reach.

Make sure that there are no open, unscreened windows or doors in your home through which animals can fall or jump.

Fire Prevention Tips:

Dispose of cigarettes properly in non-combustible ashtrays or extinguish them in water or sand. In Oregon, cigarettes start one in ten fires statewide.

When using barbeque grills, maintain clearance from combustible decks, fences, and vegetation. Allow ashes to completely cool and then dispose of them in metal containers. Barbeque ashes can maintain ignition temperatures for many hours, even if the surface is cool to touch.

Avoid using welding, grinding, or mowing equipment near dry weeds and grass.

Avoid parking vehicles in dry, weedy areas. The temperature of vehicle exhaust components can easily ignite dry grass and weeds.

Don't overload electrical outlets with portable fans, air conditioners, or extension cords.

Keep a fire extinguisher, water hose, or bucket handy in the event a fire occurs.

Observe no-burn regulations.

For Boaters Going to Beat The Heat at Foster Reservoir:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers alerts boaters and other users of Foster Reservoir near Sweet Home, Ore., that the reservoir has been filled to an elevation of 635 feet above sea level for the summer of 2014; about two feet lower than usual.

The Corps saw very little impact to recreation users last summer, when the reservoir was filled to a similar elevation. All boat ramps and Edgewater Marinas should still be accessible.

Linn County Parks will install extra dock sections at the Lewis Creek moorages to extend them into deeper water. At all water levels, but especially when below normal, boaters should watch carefully for underwater hazards.

A/C and Other Power Saving Tips:

More than 80 percent of Portland General Electric's residential customers have air conditioning to help them seek solace from summer heat. While AC units keep homes cool, they use additional electricity, increasing energy bills. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce the cost of keeping cool as temperatures rise or staying cool without the aid of an air conditioner. Customers can stay cool and trim summer electricity use by followin g these easy tips:

Open windows (upper stories are the safest) when it's cool outside (at nights and early in the morning). Monitor outside temperatures; when it's warming up and approaching 75 to 80 degrees, close windows and use an indoor fan (portable or ceiling). When the temperature inside your home becomes too warm, you may want to turn on the AC to keep cool.

Setting the central air thermostat to 75 degrees (instead of 70 degrees) results in an estimated energy savings of 115 kilowatt-hours (kwh) per month and an estimated monthly savings of approximately $11.

If the temperatures stay relatively mild during the day, cooling with outside air may be all your home needs to stay comfortable.

Close curtains on sun-facing windows. Awnings help shade windows that face the sun, too. Use white window shades, drapes or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.

When cooling the whole house with an AC, be sure to keep all windows and doors closed. When cooling a single room with a window AC, be sure to close all windows and doors in that room to keep the unit running more efficiently; open windows and doors in other parts of the house to take advantage of cool breezes. Be sure to dress as coolly as possible: shorts, short sleeves, sandals (no socks), etc.

When using AC, avoid cooking with a stove or conventional oven as heat from these appliances reduces the ability of the unit to cool your house; instead use a microwave or barbecue outdoors.

Consider turning off the air conditioning and running a portable window fan overnight for 12 hours instead; for an average home with air conditioning, this results in an estimated energy savings of 335 kwh per month and an estimated monthly savings of approximately $32.

Here are a few tips to keep an air conditioner running effectively:

Bigger doesn't necessarily mean cooler when it comes to room air conditioners. In fact, a unit that is too large for the room operates less efficiently than one that is properly sized.

Don't switch the unit off and on. Window units work best when left to run for long periods.

Don't keep the unit running at the coldest setting. Set the thermostat as high as is comfortable.

Don't put lamps or TVs that emit heat near the air conditioner thermostat.

Use interior fans to circulate cooled air more effectively through the house.

Clean or change furnace/air conditioner filter every three months.

Seal leaks in heating/air conditioning ducts (insulate ducts where necessary).

Other money-saving tips for your home:

Keep refrigerators and freezers full. Fill freezers with plastic milk jugs full of water if needed (they make great ice blocks for picnic coolers, too). Full refrigerators and freezers are more efficient because the capacity for warm air to enter is reduced, eliminating the need for the unit to cool that warm air. Keep refrigerator doors closed as much as possible.

Turn up refrigerator thermostat from 32 to 37 degrees. This cuts energy use in the average home by 9 kwh per month.

Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Swapping out 16 bulbs could reduce usage by 90 kwh per month and save an estimated $8.50 a month.

Decrease hot tub thermostat from 105 degrees to 80 degrees. Typical savings is 20 kwh per month.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal offers the following safety tips for cooking outdoors:

Only use barbecue grills, smokers and turkey fryers outdoors. Using them indoors or in any enclosed space (e.g. garage) poses a fire hazard and exposes you and your family to deadly gases.

Keep the grill, smoker, or turkey fryer away from siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves or overhanging branches according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Grills, smokers, and turkey fryers should never be used on a porch or balcony; including any porch or balcony on an upper level of a building.

Keep three-foot safe zone around your grill. This will keep kids and pets safe.

Periodically remove grease or fat buildup from catch trays to prevent it from being ignited by a hot grill.

Never leave the grill, smoker, or turkey fryer unattended.

For propane grills, make sure to check the propane cylinder hose for leaks. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by releasing bubbles.

Only use proper starter fluid for charcoal grills. Store the charcoal starter fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.

Never add charcoal starter fluid to coals or kindling that has already been ignited.

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