The heat is on, so it's time to be cool

The desert landscape is a world known for its beauty, but the desert in the summer also can prove deadly.

The elderly and children are more susceptible to the heat, but everyone can fall victim to the dangers of near100-degree weather in the area the past two weeks, Kingman fire Capt.

Bill Johnston said.

The National Weather Service predicts continued sunshine and temperatures in the low 90s in the Kingman area through the weekend.

Several weeks ago, a car driven by an elderly woman became stuck in a wash in Bullhead City.

The woman attempted to walk for help, getting only about a half mile before she died from the heat.

Travelers heading from Kingman to Bullhead City, Las Vegas or Lake Havasu City should carry plenty of water in their cars, protective clothing against the sun, hats and sunglasses.

Arizona Department of Public Safety officers usually carry a 3 1/2-gallon jug of water along with spare bottles for motorists stranded along highways.

Sue Kern, a registered nurse at Kingman Regional Medical Center, said many travelers from cooler eastern and northern states underestimate the heat when traveling Arizona's highways, especially in the lower elevations.

Motorists should carry several gallons of water in their cars as well as an umbrella.

Though a car can provide shade, the temperature inside can reach 130 degrees.

Umbrellas provide shade while walking, Kern said.

Already during the past few weeks, Kingman firefighters have responded to about a half-dozen heat-related medical calls, Johnston said.

The department recently responded to a call about an elderly woman suffering from the heat who had been left sitting outside at a local retirement home.

About a half-dozen calls each year in Kingman come from parents who leave their children in parked cars, Johnston said.

He said children and adults who play outside should wear hats, apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water or drinks that replenish electrolytes.

The three electrolytes that are lost through sweating are sodium, potassium and chlorine.

Soft drinks with caffeine and sugar can only make the problem of dehydration worse, Johnston said.

Firefighters themselves take precautions.

Crews rotate out of a firefighting situation every 30 minutes to rest and drink water, Johnston said.

He said there are three stages of dehydration: cramps - especially in the stomach or legs - nausea and flushed skin.

Someone suffering from heat exhaustion can feel lethargic, sweaty and dizzy and have a headache.

Heat stroke can be fatal.

Signs are red skin, dim vision, inability to swallow and numbness.

A person can go several weeks without food but cannot live long without water.

According to Dr.

E.F.

Adolph in a 1947 desert survival book, in 100 degrees in the shade the expected survival rate of someone without water is five days.

In 110 degrees, the survival rate is three days.

More than nine quarts of fluid can be lost by perspiration during a hard day's work.

Experiments show that a person walking in the desert can lose as much as one quart of water per hour, Adolph's book stated.