SEAN ELY Modified: June 23, 2009 at 12:53 pm •  Published: June 23, 2009
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I never thought it would happen to me.

Lara O’Leary, the Emergency Medical Services Authority’s spokeswoman, has heard that statement uttered more times than she can count from people with heat-related ailments.

"There needs to be more active involvement for protection, wearing sunscreen, drinking water and staying in the shade,” O’Leary said. "You have to be more vigilant of what your body is telling you.”

Although the weather is not any hotter than last year at this time, the beginning of the summer season always catches people off-guard, said Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Norman.

"People are not accustomed to it yet, and that’s where a lot of the illnesses come from, versus those in July and August,” he said.

A tolerance to the heat can slowly be built by doing a majority of necessary work or exercise outside in the morning, before 10 a.m., as it doesn’t take long for heat to build once the sun rises. Early morning temperatures are still in the lower- to mid-70s, Smith said.

Neither Oklahoma City nor Tulsa had an excessive heat advisory Monday, but three heat-related injuries were reported.

Oklahoma City has yet to report more than three heat-related injuries in one day. A heat advisory is triggered if there are at least five heat-related injuries in a day.

But danger exists even before an official statement is made, with temperatures expected to climb above 100 degrees today. On average, the Emergency Medical Services Authority has been responding to one to three calls a day. That’s down from recent years, when the norm was three to five.

Even the mornings can be dangerous. An 80-year-old man collapsed Friday after a morning bicycle ride, O’Leary said.



Baby left

in hot car, police say

TULSA — Tulsa police said an infant boy was taken to a hospital for observation after he was reportedly left in a hot vehicle outside a store. Police Cpl. Mike Hanley said when officers responded to an emergency call Sunday afternoon at a Super Target in southeast Tulsa, the 1-month-old child had been taken out and was cooling off inside the store. Hanley said the baby reportedly was in the back seat for about 30 minutes. Police said the boy’s mother told officers she thought the baby was with the father. Hanley said she wasn’t arrested but could face a criminal charge. According to the National Weather Service, Sunday’s high temperature was 96 degrees.

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