Staying safe, having fun

Published 9:36 am Monday, July 20, 2015

This past weekend was yet another example how of the weather this summer doesn’t seem to want to cooperate with the sunny, warm expectations we have for the season.

Friday and Saturday saw a continuation of the thunderstorms that have plagued the region all summer. In fact, the Dowagiac area experienced one of the worst storms of the season Friday night, with high winds and massive hail pelting the area. Many homes were left without power following the storm.

Making conditions worse was the heat wave that moved into southern Michigan this weekend; on Saturday, temperatures raised to record highs for the year, approaching 90 degrees. While not exactly rare for this time of year, the high humidity made conditions particularly difficult for people spending the day away from the comforts of their air conditioner, such as those visiting Dowagiac’s Summer in the City Festival (which took place Thursday through Sunday) or the Niles/Buchanan Relay for Life (which took place Saturday).

With forecasts calling for temperatures in the high 70s or low to mid 80s, we don’t appear to be out of the sizzling woods just yet.

Officials with the Michigan State Police recently released a series of tips and precautions to help residents deal with the extreme heat.

To prepare for extreme heat:

• Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, blinds or awnings to reduce the amount of heat that enters your home.

• Install central air conditioning or window air conditioners; insulate if necessary.

• Listen to local weather forecasts to stay aware of upcoming temperature changes.

• Check on family members or neighbors who are elderly, young, sick or overweight, as they are more susceptible to excessive heat.

• Ensure pets have cool housing areas and plenty of water.

• Develop a 72-hour emergency supply kit with essential items such as a three-day supply of water and food, battery-powered or hand crank weather radio, and items that satisfy unique family needs.

To prevent heat illness:

• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

• Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks because they cause dehydration.

• Wear clothing that allows good air circulation.

• Limit vigorous activity.

• Try to schedule outdoor activities during the morning or evening hours to avoid the hottest part of the day.

• If outside, avoid direct sunlight by staying in the shade.

• Use air conditioning whenever possible. If you do not have air conditioning, considering going to a public location or cooling center that does.

We encourage readers to follow the state police’s advice, and to share it with neighbors, friends and loved ones. That way, everyone can enjoy the fun of summer in a safe way.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.