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YMCA Camp Has Plan To Keep Campers Safe From Heat

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - YMCA Camp Carter has to plan especially carefully for their young campers as the temperatures push the 100 degree mark.

"A lot more pre-planning in our program activities," said Robert Hamilton, YMCA director of child care services for the area. "So, the staffing and the directors have been really intentional about planning for sunscreen breaks, for instance, in the middle of their activities."

There is a fixed schedule for filling water containers and getting the water to the campers.

Golf carts routinely buzz by with water coolers on the back of them to replenish watering areas dotting the entire property. Every activity is near a water station and the campers routinely are told to fill their water bottles.

And as much as possible the activities are scheduled in shady areas. Shade is the key. The less shade you see, the less outdoor activity you should have.

"We teach in our training to look out for when the shadows are short, and so when the sun is directly overhead," Hamilton said. "So, any activities between 10 AM and 2 PM we have to be extra cautious for. We tend to do a lot more versed in strenuous physical activity in the morning early in the morning or late afternoon when the temperatures are not so high."

Morgan Garrett's job as a counselor is to keep campers safe within the routine.

"If the kids aren't hydrated and they are hurt and they're having headaches, or they are dehydrated they're in the office and not having fun," Garrett said.

But, heat stress is a danger even with regularly scheduled breaks. Garrett looks for warning signs of heat stress and dehydration like dizziness, drowsiness or nausea.

"If you stop sweating you need to make sure you're drinking a lot of water at that point," Garrett said. "Because if you're not sweating that's when you're getting dehydrated."

Some parents even come by to help keep an eye on the kids. The trick is to catch the warning signs early and cool the person down to avoid a heat stroke.

"First of all we go and sit them down in the shade and make sure he had water," Garrett said. "If he doesn't have water the counselor will give them some of their's or get them water somehow."

Garrett said its important to get the person into the shade or air conditioning quickly. Ice packs or cold, wet towels can help too. Talk to the person and make sure they're coherent. If they're not, medical attention may be necessary.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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