MANCHESTER, Mo. - The National Weather Service and the State of Missouri want residents to stay safe through extreme weather this summer. Summer Weather Safety Week kicked off Monday (June 18) in the midst of an excessive heat warning across the St. Louis metro.
One of the more obvious weather hazards during summer months is excessive heat. An excessive heat warning has been extended to Tuesday evening (June 19), and experts warn the extreme temperatures can be deadly. There were 25 heat-related deaths in Missouri in 2016 and another 19 in 2017.
According to Captain Kevin Smith with West County EMS & Fire, if people are going to use portable fans to keep cool, they should use the fans in well-ventilated rooms. Direct fans so they blow hot air out of the window during the day and blow cooler air into the room at night.
Nationally, there have been 13 child vehicular heatstroke deaths already this year with another four pending autopsy. Captain Brandon White, also with West County EMS & Fire, says this is statistic is unacceptable.
West County EMS & Fire created the "Look Before You Lock" campaign to help adults remember their precious cargo in the back seat. The department partnered with Safelite Autoglass to create window decals that serve as a visual reminder to check the back seat before locking the vehicle. The decals also have a thermometer which measures the temperature inside the vehicle.
Decals may be picked up at the West County Safety House while supplies last. Decals will not be mailed.
Smith also suggested drivers put something in the back seat near a child or pet that they will need at their next location like a cell phone, wallet, employee ID badge or a purse/briefcase. This will force the driver to open the back door once they park.
White encouraged drivers to lock vehicles when parked in the driveway and even in the garage. Not only will this prevent unwanted intruders from potentially stealing the vehicle or items in the vehicle, but it will also prevent children from getting into the vehicle without the vehicle owner's knowledge.
Children may think an unlocked vehicle is a great place to hide during a game of hide-and-seek and unintentionally find themselves locked inside. Smith said it does not take long for a vehicle to heat up to dangerously high temperatures, even when parked inside a garage.
Summertime in Missouri is also when there is an increase in thunderstorm activity. Lightning is another weather hazard firefighters and paramedics respond to during summer months.
There is no safe place outside during a thunderstorm, said Smith. He recommends people stay inside and avoid using electric appliances or landline telephones during the storm.
For more information from the National Weather Service, visit www.weather.gov/lsx/summerweathersafetyweek.