1 Heat Wave :Layout 1 5/29/09 1:29 PM Page 1. Be Red Cross Ready Heat Wave Safety Checklist In recent years, excessive heat has Know the Difference caused more deaths than all other Excessive Heat Watch Conditions are favorable for an weather events, including floods. A excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat heat wave is a prolonged period of Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours. excessive heat, often combined with Excessive Heat Warning Heat Index values are forecast to excessive humidity. Generally meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least 2 days temperatures are 10 degrees or more (daytime highs=105-110 Fahrenheit). above the average high temperature for the region during summer months, Heat Advisory Heat Index values are forecast to meet locally last for a long period of time and occur defined advisory criteria for 1 to 2 days (daytime highs=100-105 . Fahrenheit). with high humidity as well.
2 How can I prepare? What should I do Recognize and care for heat- during a heat wave? related emergencies . Listen to local weather forecasts and Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for Heat cramps are muscular pains and stay aware of upcoming temperature critical updates from the National spasms that usually occur in the legs or changes. Weather Service (NWS). abdomen caused by exposure to high heat and humidity and loss of fluids and The heat index is the temperature the Never leave children or pets alone in electrolytes. Heat cramps are often an body feels when the effects of heat and enclosed vehicles. early sign that the body is having trouble humidity are combined. Exposure to with the heat. direct sunlight can increase the heat Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of index by as much as 15 F. fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Heat exhaustion typically involves the Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. loss of body fluids through heavy sweating Discuss heat safety precautions with during strenuous exercise or physical labor members of your household.
3 Have a Eat small meals and eat more often. in high heat and humidity. plan for wherever you spend time Avoid extreme temperature changes. home, work and school and prepare Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, for the possibility of power outages. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light- moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy colored clothing. Avoid dark colors sweating; headache; nausea; dizziness;. Check the contents of your emergency because they absorb the sun's rays. weakness; and exhaustion. preparedness kit in case a power outage occurs. Slow down, stay indoors and avoid Move the person to a cooler place. strenuous exercise during the hottest Remove or loosen tight clothing and Know those in your neighborhood who part of the day. apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the are elderly, young, sick or overweight. skin. Fan the person. If the person is They are more likely to become victims Postpone outdoor games and activities. conscious, give small amounts of cool of excessive heat and may need help.
4 Use a buddy system when working in water to drink. Make sure the person If you do not have air conditioning, excessive heat. drinks slowly. Watch for changes in choose places you could go to for relief condition. Take frequent breaks if you must work from the heat during the warmest part If the person refuses water, vomits or outdoors. of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1. malls). Check on family, friends and neighbors or the local emergency number. who do not have air conditioning, who Be aware that people living in urban Heat stroke (also known as sunstroke) is spend much of their time alone or who areas may be at greater risk from the a life-threatening condition in which a are more likely to be affected by the effects of a prolonged heat wave than person's temperature control system stops heat. are people living in rural areas. working and the body is unable to cool Check on your animals frequently to itself.
5 Get trained in first aid to learn how to ensure that they are not suffering from treat heat-related emergencies. Signs of heat stroke include hot, red skin the heat. Ensure that your animals' needs for which may be dry or moist; changes in water and shade are met. consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature. Heat stroke is life-threatening. Call 9-1-1. or the local emergency number immediately. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person's body by giving care as you would for heat exhaustion. If needed, continue rapid cooling by Let Your Family Know You're Safe applying ice or cold packs wrapped in a If your community experiences a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well cloth to the wrists, ankles, groin, neck Web site available through to let your family and friends know about your and armpits. welfare. If you don't have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.
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