Editorial: Keep people and pets safe during excessive heat | Editorials

We were surprised when Alexa, our virtual assistant, gave us a notification that it was dangerously hot outside. We’d never heard that warning from Alexa, but we hadn’t been outside since early morning to pick up the newspaper, and we appreciated the alert because our two cats were in the screen room under the deck. We quickly brought them in.

Hot temperatures are dangerous not only for people who are at risk of sunstroke, heat cramps or heat exhaustion and heatstroke, but animals as well. How hot is too hot for dogs varies by size and breed, but if the temperature is uncomfortable for people, then the same goes for dogs. You should take extra caution when bringing your dog outside when the temperature rises above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, especially if you’re walking your dog on pavement. And of course, never tie a dog up outside when it’s more than 80 degrees.

The Humane Society says never leave a pet in a parked car, “not even for a minute, not even with the car running and the air conditioner on. On an 85-degree day the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees.”

Although cats tend to tolerate the heat a little better than dogs — after all, they are famous for seeking sunny spots for sunbaths — cats can also suffer from overheating and can develop heatstroke.

Temperatures have been above average throughout the region, and as we move through the summer, there will be other occasions when it gets very hot, making it important to understand the dangers for you and your family, pets included. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 700 heat-related deaths every year in the US The risk of heat-related illness is of course highest for people over 65 and children younger than 2.

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Derek Eisentrout, a National Weather Service meteorologist at Morristown, says that on hot days, folks should limit their time outdoors to early morning or evening to avoid peak heat, drink plenty of water, wear light clothing and use sunscreen. It’s also important to make sure you’re not leaving a child unattended in the back seat of a vehicle, as more than three dozen children die from heatstroke after being left in a car every year.

“I would further mention that a lot of times people don’t realize that temperature is measured in the shade, not measured in the sun,” Eisentrout said. “So if you’re out on the lake on a boat without a cover on it, your temperatures in the sun could be a good 10-15 degrees above” the reported temperature.

The Tennessee Valley Authority reports that it saw record power demand June 13 as regionwide temperatures averaged 94 degrees, an energy demand that totaled 31,311 megawatts as of 6 pm The previous record for power demand was 31,098 megawatts on June 29, 2012. TVA is encouraging people to limit their energy usage during very hot weather, particularly during the peak hours of 2-6 pm

TVA recommended turning up your thermostat one or two degrees, using ceiling fans instead of air conditioning to circulate air, avoid using appliances such as ovens, dishwashers and clothes dryers, and closing window coverings.

A heat advisory was issued for much of the Tennessee Valley June 14 — that’s the one from Alexa we referenced earlier. Pay attention to them. Above all, take care that your pets are safe.

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