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Keep cool, hydrated in heat, be careful with barbecues

Temperatures are expected to soar into the triple digits tomorrow and through the weekend. Many residents are likely to head out to the Old Time Fair in Willamette, but keep in mind that the best defense against heat-related illnesses is prevention. Here are some tips:

n Drink more water and juices, regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you feel thirsty.

n Limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks. These actually cause your body to lose more fluids.

n Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place, even for a couple of hours, is a better way to cool off.

n Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

n Try to rest often in shady areas.

n Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.

n Check regularly on infants and young children, people over 65, people with mental illness and those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.

n Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids per hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.

Animals also can suffer from the heat.

n Be sure to provide pets water and shelter from the sun at all times.

n Restrict your pet's activity during extreme heat.

n Never leave pets in parked vehicles. Even moderate heat rapidly increases and can kill the pet quickly.

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A West Linn home was destroyed last week from fire caused by a briquette barbecue (see story page A1). Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue offers these barbecue safety tips:

n Never leave your barbecue unattended.

n Always have a hose, bucket of water, or fire extinguisher nearby in case of fire.

n Keep all combustible materials at least three feet away from the grill.

n Always discard spent briquettes and ashes in a metal can that is placed far away from combustibles.

n Store unused briquettes in a dry place away from potential ignition sources and combustible materials.

n On gas grills, check the fittings to ensure proper seal and fit at each change of propane tanks or bottles.

n Open the lid while igniting gas burners. If it fails to light, shut off the gas and wait five minutes to allow accumulated gas to clear.

For more information on fire safety, visit www.tvfr.com.