HONOLULU (KHON2) — Most folks know to expect warm weather in Hawaii, but they do not expect heat exhaustion.
Honolulu Emergency Medical Services said they have received seven heat-related calls since the beginning of April 2022.
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Officials said knowing which red flags to look out for is critical.
“We start to worry when you can’t recover over, say 30 minutes of rest outside of that environment,” said EMS paramedic Sunny Fitzgerald. “So, outside exercising in the heat of the day, like now.”
Most concerning cases are in kupuna and keiki, but adults are at risk as well. Less severe cases are treated with rest in a cool environment and applying cold packs to lower the body temperature of the patient.
“At a more advanced level, we can do something like starting an IV, giving you some IV fluids that are actually going to cool you from the inside out, so internally verses externally putting the ice packs on and things like that,” Fitzgerald said.
The National Weather Service said the weather will get hotter by September, but not to record levels.
“The average temperatures at Honolulu Airport in May, we’re talking about the mid-eighties and by the time we get to August and September, we’re talking about upper-eighties and sometimes in very warm years, we get into the lower and the low to mid-nineties, but we’re not expecting to see that this summer”Kevin Kodama, Honolulu Forecast Office hydrologist
Safety laws require employers to provide workspaces without known hazards and that means plenty of water, rest and shade for construction workers. The General Contractors Association (GCA) told KHON2 they have a flag system on Maui — yellow and green flags mean heat risk is relatively low.
“Orange and red, we actually blow horns every hour or two hours and it lets everybody know that, ‘Hey, it’s time to drink water,'” GCA safety committee chair Nathan Lutz said.
EMS said keeping sunblock handy and planning outdoor activities around peak sunlight hours is best.
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“Especially in the summer months now, everyone is hot, everyone is sweating and we live in Hawaii so everybody’s working outside in the sun so hydrate, hydrate, hydrate,” Fitzgerald said.