The forecast for central Oklahoma calls for hot weather and the outdoor dangers that go along with it, experts said.
The high temperature will be near 93 degrees Friday, with a heat index of 100 degrees, the National Weather Service reported.
Paramedics are prepared to respond to a large number of heat-related illnesses and medical emergencies around lakes and swimming pools, said Lara O'Leary, Emergency Medical Services Authority spokeswoman.
“Any time you have more people heading to the lake or the swimming pool, there is more potential for danger,” O'Leary said. “You want people to have fun, but nothing can ruin a weekend more than a trip to the emergency room.”
O'Leary urged people to take precautions in the heat. Drink plenty of liquids before working or playing outside, but avoid alcohol and drinks with a lot of sugar, she said.
Call 911 if anyone is suffering from heat stroke, O'Leary said. Then move the person out of direct sunlight into shade or cool them with water until paramedics arrive.
“There will be an increase in the call volume over the Memorial Day weekend,” O'Leary said. “This is kind of a test run for summer fun.”
Need rises with heat
As summer nears, the Salvation Army Central Oklahoma is preparing to help people keep cool, spokeswoman Heide Brandes said.
Last summer the organization helped more than 139,000 people, and officials anticipate more will be in need this summer.
“We are concerned that we won't be able to help people arriving at our door through the summer,” said Maj. Dan Proctor, area commander. “The Salvation Army has always relied on the generosity of local residents to help us do our work, and we are making a special plea at this time for support.”
During the summer, the Salvation Army opens its Red Shield Kitchen, 330 SW 4, to serve as a cool zone when temperatures climb to 100 degrees, Brandes said. Visitors can drink cool water and relax in the air conditioning.
The Salvation Army also provides utility assistance and gives away box fans to help needy residents keep cool at home.
The fans are given to older adults, the chronically ill and those with infants in the home. Last year about 700 fans were handed out, Brandes said.
“We haven't got any fans right now,” she said. “The need is really great. That is our most requested summer program.”
Each year, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. donates about 150 fans, she said, and individuals donate many more.
The Oklahoma City forecast is as follows:
• Friday: Partly sunny with a high near 93. Heat index values as high as 100. South wind between 18 and 24 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph.
• Friday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 72. South wind between 20 mph and 23 mph with gusts as high as 32 mph.
• Saturday: Partly sunny with a high near 89. South wind between 20 mph and 23 mph with gusts as high as 32 mph.
• Saturday night: Partly cloudy with a low around 68.
• Sunday: Partly sunny with a high near 88.
• Sunday night: Mostly cloudy with a low around 68.
• Memorial Day: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny with a high near 90.
• Monday night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy with a low around 67.