CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — The heat is on in Central Illinois this week and first responders and animal experts want to remind you to stay safe.

The high temperatures can cause a host of issues for us as well as our pets. As the heat and humidity rises in the region, staying hydrated is key.

For pets, it’s important to be mindful of the hot pavement, which is easy for us not to notice as we tend to wear shoes. Kitty Yanko from the Peoria Humane Society said there are some things to keep in mind with pets and the heat.

“It’s really important to keep their body temperature low, and to provide water and shade at all times,” she continues, “If you see a pet in distress, they’re panting, maybe have labored breathing, maybe even passing out, those are all possible signs of heat exhaustion so definitely want to get them to the vet as soon as possible,” Yanko said.

For first responders such as Clint Kuhlman, Washington fire chief, he says the heat mixed with the fires and heavy gear can create strain for firefighters. He says that people should be drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

“Drink plenty of fluids, avoid caffeinated drinks, avoid alcohol obviously, once you’re dehydrated it’s already too late so stay hydrated throughout the week, every day, every evening,” Kuhlman said.

He added to check on the elderly if you live near them.