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Extra hot means extra careful

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Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2009 11:00 pm

With this weekend’s high projected to hit 116 degrees, with a low of 90, Phoenix is going to feel like the far side of the sun.

But heat is no joke in Phoenix.

In 2005, 14 elderly and homeless people died due to the heat and so far this year authorities blame the heat for two deaths.

The obvious solution to high temperatures is to stay indoors, said Phoenix Fire Department Capt. Shelly Jamison.

But if that isn’t an option, drink plenty of water, not caffeinated soda or alcohol, which will actually dehydrate you.

“Stay hydrated. That’s something you do ahead of going out. And drink water all day long,” when out and about, Jamison said.

With Arizona’s low humidity, it’s easy to lose fluids without knowing it, which can lead to serious medical conditions or even death.

“When you’re in the heat you’re sweating but you don’t even know it because you dry immediately,” said Jeff Ludwig of Ahwatukee Foothills, who works outdoors, doing warranty work on pool equipment.

He tries to beat the heat by using an umbrella and starting early.

“It’s not bad when you start early,” said Ludwig, who wraps up his workday by noon in summer.

For anyone who has to do work outdoors Jamison suggests sunscreen, a hat and getting started at dawn, or before.

“Early is best because the coolest part of the day is just before sunrise,” he said. “We know it’s going to be hot, so we stay hydrated and do our physical training early.”

But sometimes firefighters and police have to just suck it up and work in the full sun.

“There is really nothing you can do,” but stay hydrated, said Sgt. Frank Matsco, who leads a squad of patrol officers in Ahwatukee Foothills. “It roasts us, every year it’s the same.”

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