ABILENE, Texas (BigCountryHomepage.com) – The City of Abilene has an all new firefighter training facility. After a Spring season full of harsh fires, it’s clear that the facility is needed now more than ever.

With weather continuing on its trend of 100° or hotter, the Abilene Fire Department (AFD) posted a High Fire Danger Warning to its Facebook page Tuesday.

Captain Ben Cotton with AFD told Big Country Homepage (BCH) that while crews worked incredibly hard during the recent wildfires, the work doesn’t stop once flames are contained. That’s where the Abilene Fire Training Facility comes in to play.

“Being where we are this year and the extreme heat that we’re having, it’s something that we’ve really got to be aware of,” Captain Cotton advised.

Watch for heat exhaustion

CDC Infographic: Beat the Heat

Signs of heat exhaustion in adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Heavy sweating
  • Clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dizziness

If you or someone you’re with begins to experience any of the above symptoms, here is what the CDC suggests:

  • Move to a cool place
  • Loosen or remove clothes, if possible
  • Put on cool, wet clothes
  • Take a cool bath
  • Sip water

Seek medical help immediately if your symptoms worsen or last longer than an hour. It doesn’t take long for heat exhaustion to turn into heatstroke.

Vehicular heatstroke in children

Information provided by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

“I think that we get the parents that start to say, ‘oh, I’m going to run into the store really quick,’ and this time of year we just can’t do that anymore,” Capt. Cotton told BCH Tuesday.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 910 children aged four and younger have died due to being left or trapped in hot cars since 1998. In 2019, a record number of 53 children died of vehicular heatstroke nationally.

NHTSA reported that 46% of those children died because their caregiver forgot to drop them off at daycare or school. Included in those statistics, these deaths typically occur during the end of the work week and more than half of the deaths involve children younger than two years old.

Prevention methods

Park. Look. Lock. “Where’s Baby?”

Caregivers should get in the habit of always looking inside their car before locking the doors. When you buckle Baby in, leave your cell phone, wallet or something else of importance, next to the car seat.

Another tip from the NHTSA: Keep a stuffed animal in Baby’s car seat when they’re not in it. Lastly, have your daycare or babysitter call you if your child doesn’t arrive as scheduled.

Knowingly leaving a child alone in a vehicle

The third leading cause of vehicular heatstroke in children is the most preventable.

Never leave a child alone in a car. Even with the windows rolled down or the air conditioning on, “a child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s.”

If you see a child alone in a vehicle, make sure they are okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately. Then, you may attempt to get into the car to help the child.

The State of Texas has a Good Samaritan Law in place. According to Ross Law Group:

While some states’ laws only dictate when an individual may act as a Good Samaritan, other states also have laws protecting Good Samaritans from negligence claims if they act in good faith. The Texas Good Samaritan Act covers both. The law states:
‘A person who in good faith administers emergency care at the scene of an emergency or in a hospital is not liable in civil damages for an act performed during the emergency unless the act is willfully or wantonly negligent.

Should the child seem to be fine, try to find their parent.

In 10 minutes a car can heat up 20 degrees, according to this factsheet from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

On a day like Tuesday, when there’s a predicted high temperature of 102° in Abilene, leaving a child in the car for 10 minutes will heat that car up to more than 120°.

Capt. Cotton told BCH in situations of vehicular heatstroke, AFD aims to be at that vehicle within four minutes.

The new training facility will teach students resource techniques and what to do during these sorts of emergencies.