By Mason Lerner
Harker Heights Herald
A worker from a California-based moving company died from apparent heat stroke in Harker Heights on Wednesday.
A bystander cooled the victim with water before he was transported to Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, where emergency staff unsuccessfully performed resuscitation measures, according to a news release from the Harker Heights Fire Department.
The 42-year-old victim was identified Thursday as Raymundo Diaz of San Ysidro, Calif.
The death marked the first serious heat-related incident of the season, but officials warn it won't be the last if precautions aren't taken.
"We all think we're bullet-proof, especially in Texas," said Harker Heights Fire Chief Jack Collier. "I really think if people lost that attitude, we would see a dramatic drop in heat-related incidents."
Wednesday's death was the first heat-related fatality during Collier's six years serving Harker Heights, but he said he sees several heat exhaustion cases every summer.
Collier emailed each city department manager, urging them to take special care of employees during summer months.
He stressed the importance of drinking plenty of fluids, taking more breaks than usual and monitoring employees very closely.
He recommended all area residents take extra precaution.
"It can happen to anyone," he said. "It only takes once, and if it's like what happened (Wednesday), they're won't be a next time."
The Killeen and Copperas Cove fire departments have not reported any heat-related illnesses this summer.
Contact Mason Lerner at email@example.com or (254) 501-7567.
Ways to beat the heat
Know the symptoms
Heat exhaustion - Accompanied by profuse sweating, excessive thirst and sometimes cramping of the muscles. The victim will usually recover if treated quickly with adequate cooling and hydration.
Heat stroke - The victim will stop sweating and lose consciousness. Internal body temperature reaches 106 degrees or higher and can result in death. Call 911 immediately.
Steps to avoid heat-related illness
Drink plenty of water or non-caffeinated beverages.
Take more breaks than usual.
Wear a hat.
Wear loose clothing.
Never leave children or pets in a locked vehicle.
Source: Harker Heights Fire Department