The Salvation Army Cleveland Corps. is working to distribute new electric fans to area residents who lack operable air conditioning or other modern amenities so often taken for granted by the majority in our community.
Damaging forest fires are burning away acres and acres of beautiful Polk County countryside, leaving a charred eyesore for area residents, travelers and visitors, and destroying the natural habitats of untold masses of wildlife.
Brush fires are taking a frightening toll on sections of our Cleveland and Bradley County hometown.
Neighbors are checking on neighbors.
Social service agencies are making it a point to remain in contact with elderly households, especially those living in at-risk conditions in unclimatized homes.
Crops are wilting.
Livestock are suffering.
Formerly plush, green lawns are vaporizing into brown dust.
Flower beds are being watered over and over and over.
Residential gardens wilt in duress of a severity traditionally unknown for this early in the summer.
All the above point to this fact. Our Cleveland and Bradley County community, and towns and government jurisdictions on all corners of our perimeter, are struggling through a heat wave whose magnitude most have never seen during this time of year.
Triple-digit temperatures have dominated the Southeast Tennessee scene since Friday and area residents are postponing strenuous outdoor projects when possible; instead, they are opting for anything indoor and anywhere that’s cool — the Bradley Square Mall, the Cleveland Bradley Public Library, the Premiere Theater, bookstores, grocery stores, retailers and restaurants.
And many whose air conditioning is working well are staying at home.
The ongoing heat wave has become a merciless aggressor. It is zapping our energy, robbing us of opportunity to enjoy being outside, escalating our utility bills and making life generally miserable.
But most seriously, it has become a legitimate threat to life — especially to our elderly who rely on cooler conditions and sometimes the goodwill of others to see that they are protected from such unhealthy conditions.
Yet excessive heat can be, and is, a threat to anyone regardless of age, health or physical conditioning. With this in mind, we repeat a few hot-weather reminders that our newspaper published in last Thursday’s edition, a day when our community savored in the “cool” of only the high 90s.
- Drink plenty of fluids; don’t wait to get thirsty. At this point, you are already dehydrating.
- Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen; avoid sunburn and excessive exposure to the sun, and wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- Schedule outdoor activities carefully such as the early morning and evening hours.
- Pace yourself; if you’re not accustomed to working in high heat, and even if you are, move slowly and rest frequently while replenishing with water regularly.
- Stay cool and preferably do it indoors. Fans will help. Air conditioning is better. Cool showers and baths also are effective in lowering body temperature.
- Use a buddy system. Check on others and have others check on you.
- Monitor those at high risk. Check on infants, children, the elderly and pets. And NEVER leave children or pets in a parked vehicle.
- Adjust to the environment. When relocating from hot to cold or cold to hot, allow for the transition by limiting physical activity.
- Use common sense. If it seems like a bad idea, it probably is. In a heat wave of this magnitude, the best of intent can become the worst of killers.
Remember, none of us is Superman. Kryptonite to him is like extreme heat to us.
Take it slow. Take it easy. If it’s worth doing, it’s best done in moderation.
Follow these suggestions and we’ll get through this mess ... alive and together.