Monday, July 13, 2009

The Heat is (Still) On

Some good advice from the Commercial Appeal...

Some cooling-off early next week promises a little relief from what has been a bummer summer so far, and we're not referring to local politics. Actually, this weekend's projected highs in the 90s remind us that summer is serious business in Memphis.

So far heat-related deaths have been few, but it's only mid-July; there are plenty of hot days ahead, when it's our responsibility to protect the vulnerable.

We must check on our elderly neighbors, especially those suffering in silence without air conditioning.

We must spread the word when local government opens cooling-off shelters --and by the way, it would be a good idea for broadcasters to spread that information with frequent messages on TV and radio.

Crossing the shopping center or supermarket parking lot, we must keep an eye out for children who have been left in locked cars by thoughtless or distracted caretakers.

When ozone pollution advisories are issued, we should take a break from outdoor activities and keep driving to a minimum -- take the bus, if we can.

It's that mixture of sunlight with hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides emerging from automobile tailpipes that produces the lung-searing gas and makes those with respiratory illness suffer worse. Like the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association has done for the benefit of athletes training in the mid-day sun, we should develop heat mitigating policies for ourselves. Those mandatory 10-minute water breaks every 30 minutes when the heat index reaches 95 degrees sound like good advice for athletes and the rest of us as well.

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