Home Emergency Management News Torrid Temperatures Claim at Least Seven Lives across US
Torrid Temperatures Claim at Least Seven Lives across US

Torrid Temperatures Claim at Least Seven Lives across US

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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest

The torrid temperatures this past weekend claimed at least seven lives from Maryland to Arizona.

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NBC News reported that four people had died in Maryland in heat-related incidents. A fifth person died on Saturday while hiking in Great Falls Park in Maryland. In addition, one person died in Arkansas and another in Arizona, also from excessive heat.

In Maryland, health officials said a Prince George's County man and a Worcester County woman died this past week from extreme heat. Earlier this month, a Baltimore City man and an Anne Arundel County woman died due to the near record-breaking heat, NBC News reported.

Woman Dies on Hiking Trail despite Rescue by First Responders

In the Washington, D.C., area, a woman died Saturday at a local hospital after being rescued from a difficult hiking trail along the Maryland-Northern Virginia state line, WJLA Channel 7 reported.

Other hikers on the Billy Goat Trail in Great Falls Park alerted authorities and guided rescuers to the scene, one of the most strenuous sections of the hiking trail.

Montgomery County, Maryland, Fire and Rescue Services and U.S. Park Police responded to emergency calls just before 2 p.m. “They said the woman, who appeared to be in her 30s, was unconscious and was being aided by other hikers,” the Washington Post said.

The woman, who has not yet been publicly identified, is the first potential heat-related fatality in the D.C. metro area over the scorching weekend.

Authorities evaluated about a dozen other hikers in this section of Great Falls who showed signs of heat exhaustion. A spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services said as a result, two hikers were taken to medical facilities for treatment.

Montgomery County officials told the Post that they have rescued overheated hikers from the Great Falls area “almost daily over the past several weeks,” even though they had posted signs warning visitors to avoid hiking in the hottest hours of the day.

In D.C., the fire department received 24 heat-related calls Saturday, the most of any day in July.

Former Pro Football Player Dies of Heat Stroke Working Outdoors

Former New York Giants lineman Mitch Petrus, 32, died of a heat stroke at a hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas, KARK announced Friday. Pulaski County Coroner Gerone Hobbs said Petrus died on Thursday after working outside at his family's shop about 35 miles east of Little Rock. The heat index at the time was more than 100 degrees.

Arizona Air-Conditioning Technician Dies in Residential Attic

The Phoenix area recorded a high temperature of 107 on Thursday. An air-conditioning technician was found dead in the attic of a suburban Phoenix home that evening, AZCentral reported. Authorities say his death may have been heat-related.

According to police, the homeowners became concerned about the technician, later identified as Steven Ball of Mesa, Arizona. When they checked on him about 30 minutes after he went up into the attic, Ball was found unresponsive and the homeowners called police.

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner will determine the official cause of death, but officials think the cause of death may be heat-related, AZCentral said.

Temperatures Approach Record Highs across Southern New England

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning covering most of southern New England for noon Friday through Sunday evening.

Temperatures in New England reached near-record levels on Saturday, climbing to within a degree or two of the record heat set in 1991. Boston’s high on Saturday was 97 degrees, just two degrees below the 99-degree record.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declared a heat emergency through the weekend.

As of 11 a.m. Sunday, WCVB Channel 5 in Boston said Boston Emergency Medical Services (BEMS) had reported “21 people were transported to hospitals as a direct result of heat-related illness since Friday.” During that time, the BEMS responded to more than 900 calls for service.

WCVB announced that the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute cancelled its second annual Jimmy Fund 5K & Fun Run. The race was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Sunday at Millennium Park in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. A two-hour post-race party with food, drink, music and games was also cancelled.

Elsewhere in New England, Hartford, Connecticut, on Saturday recorded a high temperature of 98 degrees, two degrees below the 100 degree record set in 1991.

Providence, Rhode Island, hit 94 degrees, two degrees below the 101-degree record also set in 1991.

Worcester, Massachusetts, reached a balmy 90 degrees, five degrees off the 1991 record of 95 degrees.

Early Dangerous Symptoms of Dehydration Include Dizziness, a Quickened Pulse and Nausea

CBS chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook joined "CBS Weekend News" to discuss how to avoid the symptoms that reportedly contributed to the deaths of the seven people, including Petrus. Be on the lookout for “early symptoms, such as dizziness, a quickened pulse and nausea,” LaPook advised.

Hydration is of the utmost importance. "First thing in the morning, have a glass or two of water just to get ahead of the game," he said. LaPook also suggested paying attention to your urine color, as a yellower-than-normal color could signify that the kidneys are holding onto water which could suggest dehydration.

"You can lose a ton of fluid and electrolytes through your sweat," LaPook noted. "That's generally a good thing. The more humid it is, the less efficiently your body is able to sweat. But if you stop sweating altogether, that could be a bad sign and it means you're very dehydrated and you're not able to have enough water to sweat."

That’s the time to immediately stop whatever you’re doing, go indoors and drink fluids, preferably water.

David Hubler David E. Hubler brings a variety of government, journalism and teaching experience to his position as a Quality Assurance Editor at APUS. David’s professional background includes serving as a senior editor at CIA and the Voice of America. He has also been a managing editor for several business-to-business and business-to-government publishing companies. David has taught high school English in Connecticut and at Northern Virginia Community College. He has a master’s degree for Teachers of English from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in English from New York University. In March 2017, Rowman & Littlefield published the paperback edition of David’s latest book, "The Nats and the Grays, How Baseball in the Nation's Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever."