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Heat wave safety tips from the American Red Cross

Local Red Cross Volunteers Help 24 People Affected by Home Fires in the Past Week

High temperatures are expected throughout much of the Illinois region this week. The American Red Cross has some safety tips to help keep you and your family safe during the heat wave.

* Stay Connected

   * Never leave infants, children, older adults, individuals with disabilities or pets in a vehicle unattended. Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open.

   * Check-in on older adults and individuals with chronic health conditions at least twice daily. When visiting, ask yourself these questions: 

      * Are they drinking enough water?

      * Do they have access to air conditioning? 

      * Do they know how to keep cool?

      * Do they show any signs of heat stress?

* Be on the lookout for signs of heat-related illness. Act right away if you notice someone with symptoms.

* If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke seek emergency medical care immediately.

*  Stay Hydrated

   * Drink plenty of fluids: Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Avoid sugary, caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. Avoid icy beverages because they can cause stomach cramps.

   * Replace salt and minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from your body that need to be replaced. A sports drink or a snack can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.

   * Keep pets hydrated: Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets and leave the water in a shady area.

   * Warning: If your doctor limits the amount of water you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot. If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage.

* Stay Cool

   * Stay cool indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible.

   * Wear appropriate clothing: Choose lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing. o Don’t use an electric fan when the indoor air temperature is over 95°F. Using a fan can be more harmful than helpful when indoor air temperatures are hotter than your body temperature. Fan use may cause your body to gain heat instead of losing it. Focus on staying hydrated, taking a cool shower or bath to cool your body, shutting out the sun and heat with curtains, and moving to an airconditioned place to cool off.

   * Use your stove and oven less.

   * Schedule outdoor work and other activities carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, such as morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.

   * Cut down on exercise during the heat.

   * When outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection. Visit for additional heat wave safety tips.                                

Home Fire Response

American Red Cross volunteers responded to nine home fires in South Central Illinois in the past week. Volunteers responded to incidents in Decatur, Du Bois, Effingham, Mattoon, Mount Vernon, Robinson and Sullivan.

During this past week, the Red Cross provided assistance to 24 individuals, through supplying them with basic items to meet immediate needs after a fire, and additional support in the form of health and mental health services and one-on-one support as the families involved work through next steps after experiencing a home fire.

If you or someone you know needs assistance after a home fire or local disaster, please call our dispatch line: (877) 597-0747.

Home fires are the most frequent disaster and claim seven lives every day in the U.S. Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death in a home fire by 50 percent. To help protect your household, test your smoke alarms each month and practice your escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes.

Visit for more information. Download our free Emergency app by searching for “American Red Cross” in app stores. Free resources are available to help children learn what to do during a home fire and other emergencies.

Decatur Community Event

The American Red Cross invites you to a Community Day event in Decatur! Meet our volunteers, find out how you can become a Red Cross volunteer and enjoy some food and fun.

When? Saturday, June 25 | 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. American Red Cross Office

Where? 2764 N Main St in Decatur, IL 62526

We will share information about our mission, programs and volunteer opportunities. Games and fun activities will be set up for the kids, plus we will be cooking hot dogs and brats on the grill.

About the American Red Cross of Illinois

The American Red Cross of Illinois serves 12.4 million people in 88 counties in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri including Adams, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cook, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, De Witt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Green, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jasper, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermillion, Warren, Washington, Whiteside, Will, Williamson Winnebago, Woodford. Iowa: Lee, Muscatine, Scott and Van Buren. Missouri: Clark, Lewis, Marion and Ralls. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at or visit us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @RedCrossIL.

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