Preparing for Extreme Heat Conditions
Before Extreme Heat Occurs
- Contact your local utility company for information on conserving energy in your home.
- Compile a list of emergency numbers and keep readily available.
- Homebound individuals should establish a buddy system or arrange for a friend or relative to check on them periodically.
- If you know of someone who is homebound it is important to monitor his or her well-being on a regular basis.
- Know the symptoms of heat disorders and overexposure to the sun, and be ready to give first aid treatment.
During an Extreme Heat Event Protect Yourself When Outdoors
- If you must be out in the heat, plan your activities for either before noon or in the evening.
- While outdoors, rest frequently in a shady area to give your body’s thermostat a chance to recover.
- Dress in loose fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
- Light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps to maintain a normal body temperature.
- Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
- If you are unaccustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and gradually increase your pace.
- If you overexert yourself, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak or faint, stop all activity and get into a cool or shaded area.
- Avoid being out in the sun for extended periods of time.
- This can lead to sunburn, which slows the skin’s ability to cool itself.
- Use a sunscreen with a high SPF rating.
- When planning a hike, or other extended outdoor activity, remember to bring an adequate supply of water.
- If you are planning to be in a remote location, let someone know where you are going, and when you plan to return.
- Cell phones are useful, but should not be relied upon.
- Always carry emergency supplies.
- Close blinds or curtains over windows that receive morning or afternoon sun.
- During extreme heat high electricity use may lead to shortages.
- If air conditioning is not available stay out of the sunshine and remember that electric fans do not cool, they just blow hot air around.
Eat and Drink the Appropriate Food and Beverages
- Drink plenty of water at regular intervals – regardless of your activity level.
- During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink 2-4 glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.
- Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
- Beer and alcoholic beverages actually cause further dehydration.
- Necessary salt and minerals are removed from the body as it sweats.
- They are easily replaced with fruit juices and sports drinks.
- Plan well-balanced light meals.
- Heavy meals and hot foods add heat to your body.
Use Common Sense
- Check on the status of someone you know who is homebound.
- If you are homebound arrange for someone to check in on you.
- Do not leave infants, children or animals in a parked car for any amount of time.
- Dress infants and young children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.
- Limit sun exposure during the midday hours and ensure that infants and children drink adequate amounts of liquids.
- Give your pet plenty of fresh water and ensure that it has a cool place for shelter if kept outdoors.
Caution: Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease; are on fluid-restrictive or low-salt diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake or changing what they eat and drink.
- If possible stay indoors in an air-conditioned environment.
- Keep in mind that conditions of extreme heat can also lead to an increased demand for electricity and therefore conservation should always be practiced.
- Consider visiting a shopping mall or community library for a few hours if they are accessible.
- Electric fans may be used to draw cool air into your home at night.
- Using stoves and ovens less will help to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
- Cool showers and baths are an effective way to cool off.
For more information on preparing for extreme heat visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Extreme Heat website.
Updated on: August 20, 2018