State Officials Stick to Message: Be Careful in Hot Weather

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A national group today released a report predicting a rise in the number of heat-related deaths.  But Arkansas health officials say the important thing to remember is that people can and must protect themselves when temperatures climb.

Health Dept. spokesman Ed Barham says the agency won't comment on the accuracy or merits of a report by the National Environmental Trust of Washington, DC.  The group's figures varied from Health Dept. figures.

Barham says state health officials take heat-related injury and death very seriously and will continue to do everything we can to warn Arkansans of the dangers of high heat and humidity.

According to the state agency, Arkansas averages 10 heat-releated deaths a year.  The department's statewide total so far this year is eight.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)