Extreme Heat


Extreme Heat often results in the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards. In most of the United States, extreme heat is defined as a long period (2 to 3 days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees. In extreme heat, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. This can lead to death by overworking the human body.

Remember that...

  • Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.
  • Older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.
  • Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.

If you are under an extreme heat warning

What you can do

  • Find air conditioning
  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Watch for heat illness
  • Wear light clothing
  • Check on family members and neighbors
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke
  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car
  • Salt tablets should only be taken if specified by your doctor

How to stay safe when extreme heat threatens:

Prepare now

  • Find places in your community where you can go to get cool
  • Cover windows with drapes or shades
  • Weather-strip doors and windows
  • Use window reflectors, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside
  • Add insulation to keep the heat out
  • Use attic fans to clear hot air
  • Install window air conditioners and insulate around them
  • Learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illness

Be safe during

  • Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day
  • Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, shopping malls, and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat
  • If you’re outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing

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