Montgomery County EMS encourages hikers to avoid rigorous trails and recognize the signs of heat-related illness.
BETHESDA, Md. — Montgomery County emergency crews are encouraging people to take extra safety precautions in the extreme heat, and to avoid rigorous outdoor hiking paths, like the Billy Goat Trail.
“One of our big focal points all summer long is the C&O Canal, particularly Great Falls and then the Billy Goat Trail, so we have a community outreach effort,” said Pete Piringer, public information officer of Montgomery County EMS & Fire. “Our swiftwater rescue team will go down to the park, talk to people about hydration and proper footwear, and if it’s the middle of the day, we’re going to warn them to think twice about some of the other alternative trails instead of the Billy Goat Trail.”
Crews have already received many calls this week about heat-related illnesses, ranging from heat cramps to heat stroke. The heat will be hardest on children, seniors and those with chronic medical conditions.
CURRENT FORECAST: Extreme heat continues this weekend
“We want people to be aware of heat illness,” Piringer said. “You have heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Those are very different things but just be aware. Obviously, cramps are when the muscles cramp up and all that. Exhaustion is when you have fatigue, headaches, not feeling well, that type of thing. And then heatstroke is when you go in and out of consciousness, so just be mindful of how hot it’s going to be.”
Montgomery County EMS says it’s a good idea to stay out of the heat and sun when you can and make sure you have water with you.
“Make air conditioning your friend,” Piringer said. “Limit your time outdoors in the sun. If you are outdoors, stay in the shade, but most importantly stay hydrated. What you do today is going to help you tomorrow, as far as hydration, so it’s very important to have a plan — think ahead of time what you are going to do.”
Remember that extreme heat also affects pets. Don’t leave them out in the sun, or in the car, and remember pavement can be burning hot on their paws.
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