Dallas County reports first heat-related death this summer
Texans told to limit outdoor activities, hydrate to avoid heat-related illnesses as scorching heat wave continues
DALLAS - Dallas County Health and Human Services reported the county's first heat-related death for the 2022 season.
A 66-year-old woman who lived in Dallas died from a heat-related illness, according to a report from FOX 4 Dallas. She had underlying health conditions, but no further details were released about her and whether the woman who died was outside or in a home that didn't have AC.
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"I can't talk about much about the patient, but what I can say is that the heat is affecting everyone as a whole, whether you have an underlying health condition or not," said Christian Grisales, with Dallas County Health and Human Services. "We need to be very mindful when we go outside, especially if you are in the community that doesn't have an AC, we will provide you one."
North Texans are told to limit outdoor activities and make sure they hydrate to avoid heat-related illnesses.
Very few details were made available by the county, but it comes at a time when two records were broken this week.
Water use records are being broken in North Texas cities and water mains are breaking. The need for relief is growing.
As this very hot summer bears on, the heat is starting to put some strain on our system.
Volunteers are working to fill the need for heat relief as well.
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Roughly 200 people lined up at the Salvation Army’s Carr P. Collins Center in Dallas to receive heat relief supplies, like box fans, as well as food from the North Texas Food Bank.
"We know that truly it is a life-or-death situation, especially for our seniors and those with chronic illnesses," said Salvation Army Maj. Paul McFarland.
The Salvation Army said they have extended the hours for their cooling stations in response to the recent extreme heat.
"Heat-related deaths are higher than tornado deaths, hurricane deaths, earthquake deaths," McFarland said. "So it is a reason for us to look at it like we would a natural disaster."
The heat is starting to affect the infrastructure in North Texas.
In Arlington, the water utilities department is dealing with an increased number of water main breaks.
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"We're very, very busy right now," said Craig Cummings, director of Arlington Water Utilities. "We're at about 50 for July, and we had another 25 or so in June."
The soil contracts when it’s hot and dry, and when that happens, pipes can snap.
"We've gone here about 48 days with no rainfall. So the soils have contracted a lot in any kind of piping material," Cummings explained.
Cummings said they haven’t seen main breaks and water usage in the summer this high since 2011.
He said they have plenty of water and there isn’t a concern about conservation, but he does want the public to reduce the number of times they water their grass and make sure to not do it during the day.
"[Wednesday], we were at 105 million. So it's a pretty early peak for us. We generally see that the highest pump began in August of the summer because the heat tends to build through the summer," Cummings said.
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Last week, the city of Dallas said it’s seen a major increase in water use.
Wednesday, Fort Worth announced a water usage record of 381 million gallons.
That breaks the previous record, which was set during the 2021 February winter storm.
As these temperatures continue to skyrocket, it's imperative to take the proper precautions to stay cool and stay safe.
First off, try to limit the time spent outdoors during excessive heat. The best time to be outdoors would be early in the morning or later in the evening.
If you need to go outdoors during the day, wear loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing and drink plenty of fluids.
Always "look before you lock" to ensure you have not left any children or pets inside a car. Temperatures inside a locked vehicle with the windows rolled up can be deadly.
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