Summer Threats and Staying Safe

Vermont - As we approach the summer months here in Vermont, there are some different risks to keep in mind when heading outdoors for any activities. The National Weather Service has a campaign called 'Weather Ready Nation' thats main purpose is to educate the public on different risks associated with the different types of summer weather. The NWS has been able to create an outreach group of Weather Ready Nation Ambassadors, which help to spread the Weather Ready Nation messaging out to the public. While most of the information provided is more nationally targeted, there are still some important takeaways to get looking at these closer to home.

One of the first risks that people don't think of, especially in Vermont, is heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Both can be serious concerns and tend to sneak up on people when they least expect it. The greatest risk for this happening usually occurs during hot and humid weather, when your body doesn't have as good of an ability to cool itself. This happens when your body attempts to heat itself up to cool itself properly, or when too much salt is lost through dehydration or sweating. Both of these can cause your body temperature to rise, which in turn can lead to these heat-related illnesses. Understanding the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke will hopefully help to identify someone who may be in distress because of it. More information on heat illness can be found at .

I know most people are excited to get the chance to get out on the lake this time of year, and while it's a great place to cool off during the summer, it's also one of the bigger risks of getting stuck outside in severe weather. Most people tend not to bring a cell phone with them when they're on the lake or are within cell coverage to be able to use it. For that reason, you can't rely on someone being able to get a hold of you in the event of severe weather. The best plan is to know the forecast ahead of time, and make sure to plan on being off and out of the water before severe weather is expected. You can also get a special NOAA Weather Radio that can pick up a signal across the majority of the state (The Northeast Kingdom's Station broadcasts from Burke Mtn.), to keep up to date on alerts and even set the device to alert you when a severe warning has been issued. More information can be found at .

Something that has been startling people during different severe weather situations is the WEA. The Wireless Emergency Alert system was set up to provide alerts and information to cell phones in a timely manner. These alerts can appear as popups or text messages, and the entire point of them is to alert you and inform you of something happening. The National Weather Service uses this sparingly so that people don't become desensitized to the warnings. Generally, these would go off in Vermont if there was a Tornado Warning or Flash Flood Warning, as these are the two time-sensitive, high-impact weather events that could cause damage or harm to human life and property. By pushing out these emergency alerts to all cell phones, people are able to receive these sorts of warnings about severe weather sooner, or at all if they weren't paying attention to the media beforehand. More information can be found at .

Summer is the best time of year in the Northeast Kingdom. It's important to get outside and enjoy everything Vermont has to offer. It's also important to keep in mind some of the risks associated with outside activity and understand the best ways to mitigate those risks. While some parts of the mitigation process may seem annoying at times, like a 4 am WEA alert about flooding when you're in a high-lying area, it's important to have these pieces in place for situations that can greatly benefit from them. That way we can all have a safe and fun time this summer.