DeKalb’s Fire Department offers summer safety advice

By Ali Combs

Most summertime health and safety hazards are caused by the heat and sunshine, but there are ways to stay safe, said Fire Chief Eric Hicks.

“The biggest issues we see in the summer are the heat-related illnesses: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke…,” Hicks said. “People should try to dress in loose, lightweight clothes….”

Hicks said it’s important not to overexert oneself in the heat and to stay hydrated.

Heatstroke features an extreme rise in body temperature, often between 106 and 110 degrees, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. While heatstroke is often caused by prolonged exposure to heat and humidity, sunstroke victims exhibit nearly identical symptoms, but the main contributing factor of sunstroke is overexposure to the sun, which can be avoided by wearing sunscreen, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

Other summertime hazards include grills and fireworks, Hicks said.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration website,, it is best to never use fireworks at home and fireworks displays are best left to professionals. The website lists blocked propane connections, hot coals and lighter fluid as fire hazards that should be handled with caution.

Community relations officer Chad McNett said there are several steps that can be taken to stay safe away from home for those planning on traveling.

“Try not to travel alone, and if you get lost, try not to look like you’re lost…,” McNett said. “Find a gas station in a good neighborhood somewhere and ask for directions if you need to…. It’s always good to keep your gas above a half a tank. You don’t want to be stranded and not know where you are.”

McNett said although many people think crime rises in the summer, that is not the case in many areas, especially areas with low population density. He said people should be conscious of safety precautions year round, regardless of season or location.