Excessive heat warning issued for Fort Smith

·2 min read

The heat index on Friday will be near or above 110 degrees in Fort Smith with scorching temperatures in the afternoon combined with high humidity, the National Weather Service reported.

The heatwave continues across the region with the excessive heat warning that was effect from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Aaron Howell, Fort Smith EMS paramedic, said crews have responded to several heat-related calls from people who became overheated and needed medical assistance in the last few days.

Paramedics who respond to heat emergencies also have to be careful and avoid overheating too, Howell said.

"We keep an eye on our crews who are working in the heat. We live in the South, and we are conscious to keep ourselves cool, to make sure the air conditioning is working in the trucks and to stay hydrated," Howell said.

The last three calls for heat-related medical assistance were from people ages 25 to 30 years old, he said Thursday morning, before temperatures started to rise outdoors.

The high risk category includes older people and those who work outdoors as well as the homeless.

"We have a heightened awareness right now for those folks," Howell said.

Heat exhaustion can sneak up on a person, he said.

"It can come on pretty fast. So you have to think about drinking plenty of water," Howell said.

Anyone who gets too dizzy, becomes nauseated or unable to walk from the heat should first get to a cool place and call 911 if necessary. Paramedics can get a person into an ambulance to be treated and stabilized without a ride to the hospital, he said.

Those who have to work outdoors should take frequent breaks, drink plenty of water and cool off in shade. The heat has also taken a toll on the homeless in Fort Smith.

More: Heat takes its toll on Fort Smith homeless

Staying cool: Pop-up playday at park is a slippery one in Fort Smith

Fort Smith water splash pads at parks and pools provided relief, and plenty of sunscreen is needed. A splash pad was busy at 115 N. Garrison near the Arkansas River in downtown Fort Smith.

A light breeze with cloudless skies will not be much help. Children should never be left in a vehicle unattended. The same warning goes for pets.

Temperatures Friday will be just as hot or hotter than Thursday.

The high temperature Friday will be 104 degrees with a heat index value of 110 degrees. Saturday will be a bit cooler with a high of 101, the weather service reported.

This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Excessive heat warning issued for Fort Smith