Heat Wave Safety Tips

Main Content

Coronal ejection
There are times when the sun that gives us light and makes life possible on this planet tries its best to kill us instead. We call those times heat waves. To survive until cooler weather arrives, try these safety tips brought to you by the fine folks at ready.gov.

Safety Tips If You Have To Go Outside

  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Protect face and head by wearing sunblock and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.

Tips To Prepare Your Home

  • Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.
  • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
  • Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
  • Keep storm windows up all year.

Heat Related Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an extreme heat hazard:

  • Heat Wave - Prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity.
  • Heat Index - A number in degrees Fahrenheit (F) that tells how hot it feels when relative humidity is added to the air temperature. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees.
  • Heat Cramps - Muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are often the first signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
  • Heat Exhaustion - Typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim's condition will worsen. Body temperature will keep rising and the victim may suffer heat stroke.
  • Heat Stroke - A life-threatening condition. The victim's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.
  • Sun Stroke - Another term for heat stroke.
  • Excessive Heat Watch - Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.
  • Excessive Heat Warning - Heat Index values are forecast to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least 2 days (daytime highs=105-110° Fahrenheit).
  • Heat Advisory - Heat Index values are forecast to meet locally defined advisory criteria for 1 to 2 days (daytime highs=100-105° Fahrenheit).