Every year, more than 650 people in the U.S. die from heat exhaustion. Tens of thousands more suffer the effects of heat-related illness ranging from fainting to severe headaches, nausea, and muscle cramps. Direct sun exposure on hot days and inadequate hydration are two risk factors that greatly increase the risk of heat illness. But Americans want to go out and enjoy their state and local parks during the summer. This means having a way to cool off is essential for public safety. Here are a few ways that parks across the U.S. help patrons stay cool.
In areas without trees, artificial shade structures provide valuable shelter from the sun. Canopies attached to poles are a favorite choice for shielding playgrounds from the harsh solar rays. These have the added benefit of reducing the risk of burns from touching hot equipment. Larger, more durable and elaborate shade structures can include pavilions or sports dugouts. Shade structures that are open on two or three sides allow the breeze to blow through, adding to the cooling effect.
On days when humidity isn’t too high, a misting system can help patrons keep cool. The higher the temperature, the greater the opportunity for reduction through misting. On a day with low humidity but temperatures in the 110