Extreme Heat Safety Tips:
Extreme heat conditions are defined as temperatures that are substantially hotter and/or more humid than normal for that time of year and location.
The National Weather Service (NWS) can issue the following heat-related products as conditions warrant:
- Excessive Heat Outlook: when the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3 to 7 days. An outlook is used to indicate that a heat event may develop. It is intended to provide information to those who need considerable lead time to prepare for the event, such as public utilities, emergency management and public health officials.
- Excessive Heat Watch: when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 12 to 48 hours. A watch is used when the risk of a heat wave has increased, but its occurrence and timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide enough lead time so those who need to set their plans in motion can do so, such as established individual city excessive heat event mitigation plans.
- Excessive Heat Warning/Advisory: when an excessive heat event is expected in the next 36 hours. These products are issued when an excessive heat event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurrence. The warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property. An advisory is for less serious conditions that cause significant discomfort or inconvenience and, if caution is not taken, could lead to a threat to life and/or property.
- Infants, children, the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions are more prone to heat related stress.
- Stay informed of health and safety updates by listening to the weather channels or local news. You can also contact your local public health department for information.
- Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. During conditions of extreme heat, spend time in locations with air-conditioning such as shopping malls, public libraries, or public health sponsored heat-relief shelters in your area.
Things you can do to combat extreme heat:
Drink Plenty of Fluids
You must drink a lot of water when there is extreme heat. Your body loses fluid from sweating and this can cause dehydration. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. You should drink two to four glasses of water each hour during a heat wave. Do not drink fluids with a lot of sugar or with alcohol; these will dehydrate you. It is important to speak with your doctor if you have been put on limited fluids or are on certain medications to find out how much fluid you should have.
Replace Salt and Minerals
During a heat wave you will sweat, removing minerals and salt from your body which are required and need to be replaced. Drinking a sports beverage or taking supplements can help you replace these minerals and salts. Speak with your doctor if you are on a low sodium diet before taking supplements or drinking sports water.
Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen
At home wear as little clothing as possible and choose light weight materials that are loose fitting. Ensure you do not get sunburn as this will make you lose fluids and your body won’t be able to cool itself. Keep covered up in the sun and wear a hat and sunscreen at all times.
If you don’t normally work or exercise in extreme heat, then pace yourself. Take it slowly and gradually work up to it. Take breaks and rehydrate often. If you find that you are gasping for breath, getting dizzy or have a pounding heart then stop what you are doing and sit in the shade and rest.
Do Not Leave Children Or Pets In Cars
Under no circumstances should you leave children or pets in the car during extreme heat. Even with the windows down, the temperature in the car can rise dangerously. Being left in a car can make a child or a pet suffer heat stroke or even death. This can happen in just minutes and in that short amount of time the temperature in the car can rise by 20 degrees or more. Make sure your child’s safety seat and safety belt buckles aren’t too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system, especially when your car has been parked in the heat. Teach children not to play in, on or around cars. Always lock car doors and trunks and keep keys out of children’s reach. Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach your destination. Don’t leave sleeping infants in the car ever! V C Section 15620 Prohibition Against Unattended Child in Vehicle.
Use Common Sense
There are things that you can do to keep yourself healthy during extreme heat. These include; not eating hot food or heavy meals and drink plenty of fluids. Dress in cool and loose clothing and make sure you dress your children the same. Limit the amount of time you are outside during the day and avoid places such as the beach where you are prone to severe exposure to the sun. Provide fresh water for your pets and make sure they have shade. Spend more time in air-conditioned places. If you cannot afford an air conditioner or yours is not working go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day. Both Los Angeles County and Kern County have Cooling Centers available during heatwaves.