This article originally appeared on

It’s a safe bet — with near triple digit temperatures in the forecast and the possibility heat indexes in the 100’s — Erica Reed and her two-year-old son Huey will be spending more time at the splash pad at Dorey Park.

Reed brought Huey there Friday because she makes sure to prepare before bringing him out in the heat for an extended amount of time, even with the cool water there there to help.

The video player is currently playing an ad.

“He could stay out here all day, if I let him,” Reed said. “All we got to do is get some snacks, get some drinks, get some ice, and we’re good to go. I make sure I freeze his water bottle ahead of time. I make sure I have plenty of ice in my bag. Just making sure we stay hydrated.”

Central Virginia is smack in the middle of the “heat dome” that will blanketing much of the eastern U.S. Health officials are urging people to stay inside in the air conditioning as much as possible, and if you do have to go outside, limit exposure.

“This is a time when we need all people in Central Virginia to take steps to prepare,” said Jonathan McNamara with the American Red Cross.

McNamara said to remember the “three S’s” when temps get this high:

  • Slow down — postpone strenuous outdoor activity until the end of the day when temperatures begin to dip and take frequent breaks if you do have to go outside
  • Stay hydrated — drinking plenty of water or drinks with electrolytes before, during, and after going outside
  • Stay informed — know the signs of heat related illness and do not hesitate to call of help if you notice them

McNamara said it is a good idea to check in with your family members or neighbors, especially if they are elderly or have a medical condition.
“These heat waves are lasting longer than ever before, they’re starting earlier. We understand people need to continue to exercise, continue to work out in the community. That’s why having these types of conversations, reminding there are some simple steps you can take to stay healthy, really is a way we can all help each other stay safe and avoid the downsides of these heat waves,” he said.

“Probably one of the biggest problems is people not understanding what’s going on with their bodies,” said Harold Mayfield with the Richmond Ambulance Authority. “All the sudden if you start feeling it’s hard to come up with something in thought or hard to even do little tiny tasks that are normally really easy that’s a sign you’re in a bad way and need to get out of the heat as quickly as possible.”

Mayfield said staying out of the sun and pre-gaming your hydration well before outdoor activities are key, but if you notice any signs of heat related problems, call 9-1-1 sooner rather than later.

“We’d much rather come and get you in a cool environment, cool you down for a second, and you be able to go about your merry way than me coming to you and you’re unconscious laying there, and we’re really working hard to just keep you alive.”

Back at the Dorey Park splash pad, Reed and Huey are going to safely enjoy the water during the heat wave, and they hope other families get prepared and join in the fun.