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Monday, July 1, 2019

How to prepare for an emergency in the HEAT

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Extreme heat causes more deaths each year than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods combined!!

Watch the video for the month to learn more here:

A heat wave is an extended period of extreme heat, and is often accompanied by high humidity. These conditions can be dangerous and even life-threatening for people who don't take the proper precautions.

Did you know...

(adapted from

  • Heat is the #1 weather-related killer. Heat kills by pushing the body beyond its limits. 
  • In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation slows and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.
  • Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to succumb to extreme heat. 
  • People living in urban areas may be at greater risk from a prolonged heat wave because of poorer air quality  
  • Asphalt and concrete store heat longer and gradually release heat at night, which can produce higher nighttime temperatures known as the "urban heat island effect."

Extreme Heat Preparedness Checklist

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  1. Build a disaster supply kit and make a family emergency plan
  2. Install window air conditioners snugly and insulate if necessary
  3. Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation
  4. Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside
  5. Weather-strip doors and window sills to keep cool air in
  6. Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings or shutters— outdoor awnings or shutters can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80%
  7. Keep storm windows up all year
  8. Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes
  9. Know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young or in poor health — they are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help
  10. Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies

Stay Safe During the Heat

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The Red Cross recommends taking these steps to stay safe during the heat:

  • Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty, and avoid drinks with caffeine
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service
  • Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles
  • Eat small meals and eat more often
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes
  • Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat
  • Take frequent breaks if working outdoors
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat
  • Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat, and ensure they have water and a shady place to rest

Dehydration and Exposure are the two things to avoid.

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Know the Signs of Dehydration

You may become dehydrated and not know it.  Know the signs of dehydration before it becomes life threatening:
  • Increased thirst
  • Headache
  • Dizzyness
  • Feeling faint
  • Heart palpitations
  • Unable to sweat
  • Weakness
  • Mouth dryness
  • Tongue swelling
  • Muscle cramps
  • Chills
Having chills in the middle of a hot day sounds strange but I have seen it happen.  If you feel any of these symptoms, get out of the sun immediately, rest and get re-hydrated.   If you feel worsening symptoms such as a fever, diarrhea, vomiting, see a doctor.


First Aid For Heat-Related Illness

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