Record-breaking heat waves swept through Tucson last week with temperatures as high as 111 degrees.
All of Tucson received excessive heat warnings from the National Weather Service Forecast office. On June 1 and 2, Tucson hit a high of 101 degrees, which broke the 2012 record. On June 3, there was a record high of 108 degrees, and on June 4 was there a tie for the record high temperature of 107, which was last seen in 1996.
Local fire departments are warning residents to take caution when going outside in the heat. Chief Randy Karrer of the Golder Ranch Fire District highly recommends that whether you are inside, running errands or doing something outside - drink a lot of water.
“We are telling people to essentially hydrate and limit time outside,” said Karrer. “If you are outside for an extended period of time, take the necessary precautions such as shade, wearing light cotton clothing, or cool the body off with water.”
A person who is mildly dehydrated will experience a dry mouth, dry skin, headache, constipation or dizziness. If severely dehydrated, a person will experience extreme thirst, extremely dry mouth, little to no urination, dry skin, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat or delirium.
Adam Goldberg, spokesman for the Northwest Fire District, said listening to what your body is telling you is important.
“If people don’t listen to their bodies or ignore heat-related symptoms then they will move down that heat spectrum pretty fast,” said Goldberg. “If you think you’ve drank enough water, have more water. If you continue to hydrate you will handle the heat better even if you’re not outside.”
Residents are specifically recommended to stay inside from noon to 5 p.m. as the temperatures are highest during that time.
Each day, fire departments receive the projected temperatures and relative humidity readings. This helps firefighters not only prepare for calls from residents, but also helps with knowing the risk of fires. High temperatures and winds are the most dangerous as rapid flames will develop more quickly and are more unpredictably.
“People calling are primarily doing so because they’re worried about the wildfire danger. That’s the number one concern,” said Karrer. “We try to take the opportunity to tell them it is absolutely a concern. We also say it’s not just the heat and fires but it’s about how it affects people and our pets.”
Karrer says that if a pet is left outside that there should be plenty of water and shade. Also, never leave a pet in a car no matter how short of time it is. Recently an animal died in Phoenix due to being locked in a car, according to Karrer. The same is for children. Never leave a child inside of a hot car. Also, if children are swimming in the pool keep an eye on them. Make sure they are still drinking water, have sunscreen on and have easy access to nearby shade.
“We need to treat these extreme temperatures with the respect that it deserves. It’s a dangerous situation that could lead to illness or fatalities,” said Goldberg.
From June 1-3, the county received three heat related calls and the city received six. Those numbers are expected to increase as the hotter summer months approach. If a person needs help or sees someone in need of help call 911.