Heat Wave

An electronic display registers 116 degrees on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at Armand Larive Middle School in Hermiston as a record-breaking heat wave enveloped the region.

Al Davis, the manager of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, deserves a lot of praise for his actions last week. As temperatures climbed, he made the decision to open the facility so people could find some relief inside a cone of air conditioning.

Davis surely did not do it for praise and probably is not going to be too comfortable having his noble move highlighted, but good deeds in our community need to be recognized and celebrated.

The weather — specifically the heat — is dominating what we talk about, how we live and work and what we do. No one can do anything about curbing the heat, but there are a lot of things people can do to help those who, for whatever reason, do not have air conditioning or are otherwise limited in escaping the high temperatures.

Davis did the right thing. For some in our community, retreating into the relative comfort of air conditioning is not an option. Instead, they must rely on fans — which help — or simply endure the heat.

High temperatures are nothing new to our area. We see them every year about this time. What is different this year is the longevity of the high temps. Into the near future, we are going to continue to bake.

That means everyone should be mindful of the dangers of heat. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are the two most common injuries that come to mind.

Heat exhaustion can manifest itself with symptoms, such as a headache, dizziness, heavy sweating, nausea and feeling physically weak.

Anyone who begins to experience those types of symptoms should immediately get out of the sun, find a cool environment and drink water. Heat stroke exhibits many of the same symptoms but is far more dangerous. Heat stroke can lead to confusion, slurred speech, high body temperature and dry skin. An individual who suffers from heat stroke must seek immediate medical attention.

The heat is not going to go away soon, so that means all of us must keep a close watch on how we feel during the day. And make sure your neighbors or friends do not fall victim to a heat injury.

We should also do all we can — as Al Davis did last week — to help others if they are unable to rely on air conditioning or fans.

We need to enjoy our summer, but be safe when we do.

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Andrew Cutler is the publisher/editor of the East Oregonian and the regional editorial director for the EO Media Group, overseeing the East Oregonian and five more newspapers in Eastern Oregon.

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