Heat Wave Safety

Extreme heat, or a heat wave, is a period when temperatures are substantially hotter and more humid than average. During days of extreme heat, your body works extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Heat exhaustion, and even death, can occur if your body is unable to properly cool itself. During times of extreme heat, please take proper precautions to ensure you, your family, and your pets stay safe.

Before a Heat Wave:

  • Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes.
  • Discuss heat safety with your family. Have a plan for wherever you spend time- home, work, school- and prepare for possible power outages.
  • Check the contents of your emergency go-kit in case a power outage occurs. Don't have one? Watch this video and build one today!
  • Find places you can go for heat relief, especially during the warmest part of the day and if you do not have air conditioning. Indoor public spaces like libraries, malls, and theaters are great options.
  • Ensure you take car of your pets too! Be sure your animals have access to water and shade, especially if you won't be home during the day to check on them.
  • Try to keep your home cool:
    • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
    • Cover windows with drapes or shades.
    • Weather-strip doors and windows.

During a Heat Wave:

  • Listen to an NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Never leave children or pets in enclosed vehicles. Even with the window cracked, temperatures rise very quickly and can be deadly!
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun's rays.
  • Postpone outdoor activities: slow down, stay indoors, and avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day (typically 12pm-4pm)
  • Take frequent breaks, especially if you must work outside.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone, or who are most likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Stay water safe if you take to the beach, pool, or lake to escape the heat.
  • Test sidewalks with your hand before taking your dog for a walk. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s definitely too hot for your pet.

Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses:

Heat Cramps:

  • Signs: Muscular pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs
  • Actions: Go to a cooler location, remove excess clothing, and take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar.

Heat Exhaustion:

  • Signs: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea. vomiting
  • Actions: Go to a cooler location, remove excess clothing, take a cool bath if available, and take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. If symptoms worsen or persist for more than an hour, call your healthcare provider.

Heat Stroke:

  • Signs: Extremely high body temperature (103 degrees or higher), red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat, rapid, strong pulse, dizziness, confusion, unconsciousness
  • Actions: Call 9-1-1 or get the affected individual to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.
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