Don't underestimate the heat: Authorities urge caution as community preps for heat wave

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Central Ohio is bracing for a dangerous heat wave, with emergency officials urging people to take precautions (WSYX/WTTE)

The heat didn't stop some people from heading outdoors Wednesday. "I've been outside all day today," said Nicholas Katona, "we were golfing earlier and now we are playing basketball, but yeah it is hot out here."

The friends took on the hot temperatures at Blue Limestone Park in Delaware, with hotter weather likely on the way.

"We try to stay healthy, so like we drink a ton of water, cold water at least," said friend Joshua McSweeney, "and anytime we get too hot, we sit in the shade."

With people preparing for potentially dangerous heat later in the week, ABC6/FOX28 met up with Delaware County's Emergency Management Director in the team's Emergency Operations Center. "One thing that people need to know is just how dangerous extreme heat can be," said EMA Director Sean Miller, "and it is one of the deadliest weather-related events in the United States per year, so depending on the year, it may be the deadliest." They advise everyone to stay hydrated, do not leave kids or pets in the car, limit time outside if necessary, and to check in on neighbors and loved ones.

"I think it is one of those things that flies under the radar," said Miller, "and so there are many things that we would urge people to do to prepare. Check on your neighbors, make sure that they are okay. Make sure that you are taking the considerations of your pets into account, don’t leave them outside."

He also recommended keeping air-conditioning options in mind. "This weekend and Friday we are encouraging folks to go to their local libraries in Delaware County," said Miller. "We work with them very closely, they are happy to accept folks as they normally would. They are air-conditioned."

Along Downtown streets certain days, you can spot booths set up for the farmer's market, like the Russo Farms team. They work through the high temperatures, harvesting a wide variety of produce from till to table for more than 50 years now. "We had a wet spring," said operator Garry Russo. "I’ve planted things wetter than I’ve ever planted before and now all of a sudden it’s gotten hot."

The heat has played a role this season, but they are still managing and are happy with their produce. "We’ve had this quote 'dry spell,' I hate to say it was dry spell, and then we’ve had all this high heat, so we have to worry about our plants," he said.

They will be at the farmer's market this weekend, focusing on tasty vegetables and staying hydrated. With a lot of weekend events in the Delaware area approaching, the EMA team and more are advising everyone to limit time outside, stay hydrated and wear appropriate clothing. Delaware County EMA also works with People In Need, INC of Delaware County to put together a box fan drive, to help people who need relief from the heat.

New box fans can be donated at all Delaware County fire and EMS stations, as well as Delaware County District Library branches and the PIN branch at 138 Johnson Drive in Delaware. If your are need of a fan, contact PIN.