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Heat Wave: How to save power, protect pets, conserve water and cool off

Heat Illness | Pets | Save Energy | Conserve Water | Protect Trees | Cool Off | Water Safety

EUGENE, Ore. - Forecasters warn of excessive heat and extreme fire danger this weekend.

An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect from noon Friday through 5 a.m. Sunday, as of Friday noon.

A Red Flag Warning - a notice than any new fires could spread rapidly - is in effect through Sunday at 11 a.m., as of Friday noon.

Daytime highs forecast in the upper 90s to low 100s are only part of the equation for the Willamette Valley, the National Weather Service said.

"Night time temperatures in the valley will be quite warm: mid to upper 60s and possibly 70 for overnight lows," forecasters said. "This will produce very muggy like conditions and add to the effects of the heat as homes without air conditioning will not be able to cool much at night."

The June heat wave could set or challenge record high temperatures - and pose dangers to the populace. Extreme heat is deadlier than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and lightning combined, according to the CDC.

"This is abnormally early for a heat wave of this magnitude," forecasters cautioned. "Be sure to avoid exertion during the heat of the day and to stay hydrated with clear liquids. Automobiles can heat up rapidly to temperatures harmful or even deadly to pets and children. Use caution near area rivers and be water smart: wear a life jacket and use good judgment.


Water Safety Tips from Legacy Emanuel Medical Center

In response to recent drowning incidents in Oregon and Southwest Washington, physicians from Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and Randall Children's Hospital are urging the community to use extra caution this weekend.

"Given the heat wave, we feel it's more imperative than ever to stress the importance of water safety as people look to our rivers and lakes as a way to escape the high temperatures," says Randall Children's Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit physician, Andrea Hoogerland, M.D. "Our unit cared for one drowning victim this May and has seen four more already in June."

Water safety tips

  • Designate a responsible adult to watch young children. Children need to be an arm's length from a supervising adult at all times.
  • Wear a life jacket. Air-filled or foam toys are not safety devices. They are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
  • Watch for dangerous waves, floating debris and signs of rip currents such as water that is discolored and choppy or foamy and moving in a channel away from shore.
  • Always know the depth of water before you dive. Remember "feet first, first time." Natural bodies of water change with time. What was safe last week may not be tomorrow.

Surgeon Dean Gubler, D.O. with Legacy Trauma Services at Legacy Emanuel warns, "These are preventable events that are often increased by drinking alcohol. Alcohol influences balance, coordination and judgment, which are heightened by sun exposure and heat." He adds, "Stick with water or sports drinks to stay hydrated."

Heat Illness | Pets | Save Energy | Conserve Water | Protect Trees | Cool Off | Water Safety


Pet Safety Tips from Greenhill Humane Society

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for parts of northwest Oregon and southwest Washington, including Portland, Salem, and Eugene. This means now more than ever it is important to remember these safety tips to keep your furry family members safe:

Leave pets at home when running errands. Leaving your animal in a parked car, even for a short time, can easily cause heat stroke or brain damage. On an 85 degree day, a car's interior temperature can climb to 120 degrees in 20 minutes, even with the windows slightly open. Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat stress because they do not sweat in the way that humans do; they release body heat by panting.

Dogs should not ride in uncovered pickup truck beds. The hot metal truck bed can burn your pet's paw pads.

Keep pets inside during the heat of the day; do not leave them outside unattended.

Make sure pets have access to water bowls full of cool, fresh water.

When pets are outside, be sure to provide shaded areas for them to rest in and invest in a misting hose or kiddie pool for a cool place for your pets to play.

Always test the pavement or sand with your hand before setting out (too hot to touch is too hot for your pet), walk early in the morning or late at night when it's cooler, carry water and take frequent breaks in shady spots. If you suspect your pet's paws have been burned, contact your vet immediately.

Heatstroke symptoms can include: restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, vomiting, and lack of coordination. If your animal is overcome by heat exhaustion, immediately immerse or spray him/her with cool running water (not cold water) give him/her cool water (not ice water) to drink, and consult your veterinarian right away. If you notice an animal in distress or unresponsive in a parked car, first try and locate the pet's owner and alert him or her to the animal's condition. If you cannot find the animal's owner call 911.

Heat Illness | Pets | Save Energy | Conserve Water | Protect Trees | Cool Off | Water Safety


Water Conservation Tips from EWEB

With high temperatures expected to hover between 90 and 100 degrees for the next week, the Eugene Water & Electric Board is asking all of its customers to be mindful of their water use, especially in light of the low river flows.

Like much of the Western United States, Oregon experienced near-record low snowpack over the winter and early spring. The snowpack acts as a frozen reservoir of sorts, melting slowly over the summer and recharging streams and rivers. On the McKenzie River, which is Eugene's sole source of drinking water, river levels are well below normal for late June.

While water conservation is always a good idea, EWEB is asking customers to take some voluntary actions to reduce their water use in order to keep as much water in the river for fish and other downstream users.

EWEB is monitoring the low water situation closely, and has developed a color-coded system for letting customers know the status of the low-water situation. Because of the high temperatures forecast for the next week, EWEB has set the awareness level at "green," which asks that customers voluntarily take steps to reduce water use.

Perhaps the biggest step customers can take to conserve water is to use the Green Grass Gauge, which makes it easy to manage outdoor water use to reduce over-watering and keep more water in the river.

Simply place the device in the area of the lawn, garden or landscape where it receives the typical amount of water. Then sign up to receive weekly watering recommendations by going to eweb.org/ggg.htm. Recommendations are also broadcast each week on TV stations KEZI, KMTR and KVAL during the local news on Fridays.

Customers can pick up a Green Grass Gauge at 14 locations in Eugene-Springfield. To find a location near you, go to eweb.org/ggg/locations.

Other steps customers can take to conserve water include:

  • Postponing new plantings: Planting new items in your yard or garden during hot weather it not the best plan for the health of the plant or for water conservation. If possible, wait until the weather cools a bit before planting new items.
  • Hot weather doesn't mean more watering: Just because it is really hot for a few days doesn't necessarily mean you have to increase your outdoor watering. Lawns and most plants can withstand a few days of very hot weather without requiring additional water, especially if you have been using the Green Grass Gauge recommendations.
  • Don't wash the driveway: Avoid using water to wash off the driveway or sidewalk. A broom works just fine.

Heat Illness | Pets | Save Energy | Conserve Water | Protect Trees | Cool Off | Water Safety


Oregon Department of Forestry on Heat and Trees


The weather forecast is calling for high temperatures around most of the state through the weekend and even into the middle of next week. It's a time to keep fire prevention uppermost in our minds, and also, to remember to protect the health of trees in yards and landscapes by deeply watering them.

"Summer temperatures can be hard on trees, especially landscape trees in our urban areas," says Kristin Ramstad, an urban forester with the Oregon Department of Forestry. "If they aren't well-watered, warm weather and prolonged drought eventually make trees more susceptible to insect and disease problems," adds Ramstad.

Seems like a good time to remember that when temperatures in Oregon get warm and stay warm, it can take a toll on trees as well as people. The Oregon Department of Forestry suggests a few tips for keeping your trees healthy during times of heat stress.

Symptoms of drought

One of the first signs that a deciduous tree (i.e., trees like birches or maples that drop leaves in the winter) needs water is that its leaves begin to look dull, and sometimes, limp.

More advanced symptoms of needing water are browning of leaves, wilting, and curling at the edges. Leaves may also develop a scorched or burned look, turning yellow or brown on outside edges, or between leaf veins. Leaves may even appear smaller than usual, drop prematurely, or turn brown but remain on the tree.

When drought-stressed, the needles of conifers (evergreen trees such as Ponderosa Pine or Douglas-fir) may turn yellow, red, purple or brown.

Watering tips

Given their benefits, longevity, and contributions to the environment, give your trees higher watering priority than lawns. Keep in mind that if trees are only provided with shallow water every so often, they're probably only getting a fraction of what they need. Watering trees for short periods of time encourages shallow rooting, which can lead to future health problems for the tree.

To make sure your tree gets the water it needs, saturate the soil within the drip line - that's the circle that could be drawn on the soil around the tree directly under the tips of its outermost branches. Using a regular hose or a soaker hose, water deeply and slowly - slowly is important, so the water doesn't run-off. To make sure it gets enough water, keep moving the hose around different areas under the tree.

For conifers, water 3 to 5 feet beyond the drip line on all sides of the tree. Also, if you have a choice, water trees during the cooler part of the day. Another way to water trees slowly is to put a nail hole in the bottom (near the edge) of a five gallon bucket. Fill the bucket with water, and leave the slowly leaking bucket under the canopy of the tree. Do this twice or three times per tree, moving the bucket each time.

Other tips: Use mulch

Using mulch is an excellent way to care for trees in warm weather, as it helps the soil below trees retain moisture and stay cool. Mulch can be made of bark, wood chips, leaves and evergreen needles.

Apply mulch within the drip line, at a depth of four inches, leaving a six-inch space between the mulch and tree trunk. Mulch will also help discourage weeds.

Lastly, don't plant annual flowers or other ground covers under the canopy of your tree, as they'll compete with the tree's roots for moisture and nutrients.

Heat Illness | Pets | Save Energy | Conserve Water | Protect Trees | Cool Off | Water Safety

American Red Cross at USATF Championships

The American Red Cross First Aid Service Team will be onsite for the 2015 USATF Outdoor Championships at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., today through Sunday June 28, to assist with potential heat-related issues given the expected high temperatures.

According to USA Track & Field's website, the USATF Outdoor Championships bring the nation's best athletes to Eugene, Oregon to compete at Hayward Field as the final stop on the 2015 Outdoor USATF Championship Series. Athletes will earn spots on the 2015 IAAF World Championships team set for August 22-30 in Beijing, China, as well as on the Pan Am Games, Thorpe Cup, Pan Am Juniors and NACAC Championships teams.

Red Cross F.A.S.T. volunteers will also provide services next summer for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials - Track & Field at Hayward Field and will be on site at Diamond Woods Golf Course in Monore, Ore., on July 10 to assist as the third annual American Red Cross Golf Tournament sponsored by Willamette Valley Restoration.

Heat Illness | Pets | Save Energy | Conserve Water | Protect Trees | Cool Off | Water Safety


Tips from Pacific Power to stay cool, use less energy and save money

With forecasts predicting triple-digit temperatures throughout the Northwest over the next week, Pacific Power wants to remind customers to stay safe and use these tips to beat the heat, use less energy and save money.

Be air conditioner smart

  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees. This will keep you comfortable and cooling your house below that temperature can increase your air conditioning bill as much as 8 percent.
  • Don't turn off the air conditioner when you're gone; instead set it higher, at 85 degrees. That setting allows your air conditioner to use less electricity to cool the house than if the air conditioning has been off all day, but doesn't shut down altogether.
  • Use an air conditioner timer or programmable thermostat; set it to start bringing your home's temperature from 85 degrees down to 78 degrees no more than 30 minutes before you get home.
  • Replace air conditioner now before hot spell sets in, then once a month. The dirtier your filter, the less efficient it is.
  • Lamps, televisions or any other appliance that creates heat needs to be kept away from the thermostat; they will impact its accuracy.
  • Your air conditioner will operate most efficiently if you trim nearby foliage to allow adequate air flow around the unit.
  • Don't block inside distribution vents with furniture or other objects.


Don't let the sun shine in

  • On warm days, close blinds and drapes, especially in south-facing windows which allow in the most heat.


Open windows in the evening and circulate cool air

  • Open windows in evening and early morning to let in cool air. Be aware, however, of any safety or security issues.
  • Use fans to bring in and circulate cool air. Ceiling and window fans use less electricity than an air conditioner when the compressor is engaged. Running an air conditioner in fan-only mode can also be effective as outside temperatures drop.


Reduce the heat inside

  • Use heat-producing appliances like ovens, dishwashers and dryers in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.
  • Grill outside or use a microwave or toaster oven. A toaster oven uses one-third to one-half as much energy as a regular oven and releases less heat into the home.
  • Turn off heat-generating devices when not in use, including lamps, televisions and computers.


Where to Cool Off in Eugene

As temperatures rise, the City of Eugene invites individuals to cool off in air conditioned libraries, community centers, swimming pools and parks.

City of Eugene Recreation pools offer great relief from the heat. Amazon Pool is closed Fri., June 26 - Sun., June 28, but Sheldon and Echo Hollow Pools are offering 2-for-1 recreational swims all three days. The pool locations, hours of rec swims and phone numbers are as follows:

Amazon Pool CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC June 26-28 for a swim meet

Echo Hollow Pool, 1655 Echo Hollow Rd.,M-F:1:10-3:40 p.m.;7-8:30 p.m. M-F; Su: 1:15-3 p.m., 541-682-5525

Sheldon Pool, 2443 Willakenzie Dr.M-F:1:40-3:40 p.m.; MW 7:35-8:30 p.m.; F:7:30-8:30 p.m.; Sa: Noon-2 p.m.

For more information on pool schedules and fees, visit www.eugene-or.gov/recaquatics or call (541) 682-5525.

All three Eugene Public Library locations are air conditioned. The hours of operation are:

The Downtown Library, 100 West 10th Ave., is open 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., M-Th, and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. F-Su. Open late on Friday, July 3 10 a.m. - 8 p.m

The Bethel Branch Library, 1990 Echo Hollow Rd., and Sheldon Branch Library, 1566 Coburg Rd., are open 2 p.m - 8 p.m. Tues, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. W & Th, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. F & Sa; closed Sundays.

The City operates five community centers that are air conditioned. The hours of operation and locations of those centers are:

Amazon Center, 2700 Hilyard St., 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., M-F
Campbell Center, 155 High St. 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F
Hilyard Center, 2580 Hilyard St., 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., M-F
Petersen Barn Center, 870 Berntzen Rd., 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., M-F
River House Center, 301 No. Adams St., Noon - 4 p.m., M-F

Spray play areas in City parks are a cooling resource, as well. Spray play areas are located in the following parks:

Fairmount
Friendly
Gilham
Oakmont
Skinner Butte RiverPlay Playground
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