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Dangerous heat, ozone alert pose risk to Kansas City area

Tips to stay cool, safe in heat burst
ground level ozone
Posted at 12:25 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 14:27:17-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City area could experience its hottest temperatures in three years this week.

On top of that, an air quality alert has been issued for Wednesday due to the high levels of ozone in the atmosphere.

These elements make for dangerous conditions.

The National Weather Service reports that more people die because of heat than any other weather hazard.

With that in mind, here is some information to help protect yourself and your loved ones.

VULNERABLE GROUPS

Vulnerable populations to extreme heat include pregnant women, newborns, children, the elderly and those who suffer from chronic illnesses.

Check on these people often to make sure the have access to air conditioning and water.

Because of the ozone alert, people with respiratory diseases, such as asthma, should also take extra precautions, according to the Mid-America Regional Council.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITY

In general, people should limit strenuous outdoor activities in high heat.

If they do engage in outdoor exercise or work, they are encouraged to find shaded areas, take multiple breaks and stay hydrated.

Outdoor activity is likely safest before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on high-heat days, MARC said.

KIDS

Kids face multiple risks during extreme heat.

In addition to being a group vulnerable to the health effects of high heat, places that are usually safe for them can pose a danger.

Parents and guardians should be aware of high temperatures at playgrounds, including hot slides and pavement.

They should also be hyper-vigilant when in the car with their children.

NWS suggests leaving things such as a phone, wallet or purse in the back seat with your child to remember to check the back seat, and, of course, look before you lock.

Temperatures can become deadly in minutes inside a car.

PETS

Similarly, pets should not be left alone in vehicles.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management shared some tips for pet owners.

Care takers should make sure their pet has plenty of shade and water, and shouldn’t rely on a fan alone to keep them cool.

They should also be cognizant of humidity levels and pavement temperatures, and limit their pet’s exercise on hot days.

OTHER TIPS

Adults and children should wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to help stay cool.

They should stay in an air-conditioned building if possible, but if not, seek shade and/or a pool, according to KDEM.

MARC advises people to limit activities that will contribute to the ozone in the atmosphere.

That can include gassing up the car, topping off your take, mowing and using gasoline-powered lawn equipment.

MARC said fueling up after dusk can lessen the ozone contribution there, while lawn care should be conducted only after the ozone alert is over.

Lawn and gardening equipment account for around 9 percent of the Kansas City area’s ozone emissions, MARC said.

Drivers are encouraged to carpool and postpone less-necessary errands.

Public transit and biking is also encouraged.