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Arlington first responders share ways to stay safe as temperatures soar

Preparing for cookouts and cleaning up charcoal can be dangerous. Here are ways to stay safe with high temperatures.

ARLINGTON, Tenn. — Cookout season is creeping up just as temperatures peak into the triple digits. 

Arlington Fire Department Chief James Harvill insists disposing of grilling charcoal can be a huge factor in preventing unnecessary fires when it is hot outside.

“You’ll see careless activities where [people] will dump [charcoal] into a trashcan before extinguishing it so just be very mindful of anything they use on the outside related to grills – especially charcoal or wood type grills,” Harvill said.

Extinguishing charcoal and ensuring anything that was once hot, is cool before disposing can be a life saver in terms of fire prevention.

Another danger that high temperatures can bring on is heat stroke. Arlington Fire Department Assistant Chief and Fire Marshal Jim McMillen explains the need to know the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

“Heat exhaustion, you begin getting sick at your stomach, you feel faint, sweating profusely – that’s heat exhaustion,” McMillen said. “When you stop sweating is the time to really be concerned because that could possibly indicate it’s turning into heat stroke and heat stroke can be fatal.”

The best way to prevent both is to hydrate.

“People drink a lot of sports drinks, energy drinks, things like that – those are good, but any doctor will tell you water, water, water,” McMillen said.

According to McMillen, anytime you drink a sports drink, you should also drink water to hydrate your body. On top of water, if you must work outside, rest is key.

“We recommend our guys to do work, rest cycles,” Harvill said. “So, if you have to work and it is outside, work 15 minutes, take a break, get a drink of water, work again.”

Harvill and McMillen said it's best to always have water on hand for yourself and lots of water on hand if you’re doing any outdoor cooking with fire. Additionally, a burn permit from the city is required for any outdoor burning of leaves or grass.

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