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Keeping students safe when the weather gets hot

Students drinking water
Posted at 4:55 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 17:01:54-04

FISHERS — Days before the Spark Fishers Parade, the Fishers High School Tiger Band is preparing diligently for this performance, a showcase to the community.

"We're really excited to show everyone what we've been working on. Besides the Sparks Fishers Parade, we're also getting ready for the Macy's Day Parade in 2023, which is a big deal," Chad Kohler, director of athletic bands at FHS, said.

RELATED: Fishers High School Tiger Marching Band heading to 2023 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Kohler says making sure the students are prepared for these big performances and the season ahead is important, but doesn't trump keeping the kids safe when it's hot outside.

"They're inside warming up and then they'll be out. We'll be out here for about 25 minutes," he said. "We've not spent any longer than about an hour per segment outside."

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"If it's really hot, we've been going inside and doing basics and choreography stuff in one of our gyms," Katy Delaney, one of the drum majors, said. "Since our June camp is at night, it's a little less hot and we're able to be out here when the sun is setting."

Summer break has been scorching for kids across Central Indiana, making it tough for students participating in any extra-curricular activity to be outside practicing.

RELATED: Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Dr. Gary Kirkilas, a pediatrician at Phoenix Children's Hospital, says he understands the delicate balance parents face when sending their kids to practices when the weather is extremely hot. Living in Phoenix gives him a unique perspective on hot weather.

"I think this whole week it's like in the 105 and 108 range," Dr. Kirkilas said. He shares the most common thing he tells parents with school age kids doing activities outside.

"In general, what I do recommend is to avoid the hottest parts of the day between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.," he said. "If you're experiencing a lot of hot, [if] the skin turns to a reddish color, those are signs you're experiencing heat exhaustion. It's very scary when it turns into a heat stroke. The patient will get very confused, they're not acting like themselves."

NiCole R. Keith, PhD, the past president of the American College of Sports Medicine, says parents should tell their kids to listen to their bodies when they're participating in outdoor activities.

"Our brains will tell us when we need to hydrate. If a kid says I'm thirsty, you need to let that kid drink," she said. "The older we get, the worse we are at this. We say 'I can push myself a little bit harder.' For teenagers, high school students, it's the adult's responsibility to make sure they're hydrating because they will try to push."

Kohler says proper hydration and mandatory breaks are all things reinforced to the students by the staff.

"These kids are our kids. We have to look out for them as if they're ours. We reinforce with them. We mandate that they're hydrating constantly and showing up to rehearsals with food in their belly," Kohler said.