As Vegas sizzles, tourists swelter

jeff heat.jpg

Charlotte and John Yanotti, from upstate New York, have the right idea. I met them on the Strip on a day headed for the high 100s.

“This is good. What do you have here,” I asked John, who, with his wife, had just walked out of a Ben and Jerry’s.

“Chocolate chip cookie dough. Want to try some?” he offered.

It was a good day for a cool treat. And on a day when Las Vegas is flirting with 110, they're smart: she has an umbrella and they're drinking lots of water.

Last year, a little more than 42 million people came to Las Vegas. Of that number, about 15 million came during the four months that make up our hot season: June, July, August and September.

At the Clark County Fire Department, that's when the calls start coming into the five stations serving the Strip: from overheated tourists unprepared for the heat, or in other cases, unconcerned with its consequences.

“They are here to enjoy themselves at the pool and walking down the Strip, and sometimes their conditioning is not the way it should be, and they are certainly not drinking enough water,” says Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Buchanan. “Combine that with one-too-many Red Bulls or cups of coffee, and maybe one-or-two-too-many piña coladas, it can be a pretty bad situation.”

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“It is very difficult sometimes for a healthy person to remember to drink enough water,” Buchanan says.

They did not have hard numbers, but County Fire tells me they do get more Strip summer-related calls. The department says some come from those popular pool day clubs; it seems the young folks in the water are not drinking enough water.

For many people, Las Vegas is an escape. For the uninitiated, the dry heat is a novelty until its repercussions catch up. We saw more than a few people on this Thursday morning walking down the strip, alcoholic beverage-in-hand. Maybe they missed the memo: alcohol and heat don't mix.

Keeping guests summer-safe is a top priority, says MGM Resorts.

"We ensure guests have access to water stations, shaded areas near our pools, and many other locations that provide relief from the heat. Our team also provide recommendations on how to stay safe in the sun and make sunscreen and other personal care items readily available for purchase,” MGM said in a statement to News 3.

On the Strip, the heat has its fans. I met one woman from Canada.

“We come from the north. We are happy when it is hot,” she told me. But those of us who live here know heat must be treated with respect.

Next to the Paris Hotel, in full Lido-like plumage with skimpy bikini-like costumes, we met two locals, both street performers, who work the Strip even when it is sizzling.

The obvious question: how do they stay cool?

“We do not. We just kind of walk around and hope that some of the air in the casino's doors are open. It is extremely hot outside. It gets pretty bad and we have been out here when it is 115 degrees,” says Kaitlynn Allen.

They tell News 3 they have plenty of water.

“We stay in the misters as much as we can and find shade,” Allen says, as she and her partner resume their walking, hoping for tips on a day that sizzles.

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