It's HOT! Extreme Heat Safety Tips and Resources

It’s HOT!  Extreme heat especially affects infants and children, seniors, homeless or other people with no access to air conditioning, outdoor workers, people who are overweight, and people with medical conditions or disabilities.  Below are a few tips and prevention resources for individuals and families who may be at risk.  Check on any family and neighbors who may be at risk and seek medical care immediately if you or someone else shows heat-related illness symptoms like dizziness, fainting, muscle cramps, headaches, nausea, confusion, or vomiting.

Heat Safety for Children

  • Children are more susceptible to heat stress than adults for a number of reasons:
  • Children don't know or understand the symptoms of heat stress
  • Children don’t know how much fluid they need and thirst is not an accurate measure of how much is needed
  • Children don't have as much ability to sweat or dispel heat and only begin sweating after their body reaches a higher temperature

To prevent dehydration and other effects, experts recommend:

  • Have kids drink a glass of water one to two hours before going out, and another glass 10 to 15 minutes before going outside to play
  • Encourage children to drink regularly, every 20 to 30 minutes; have them drink until they're not thirsty, and then another half glass (for kids under 10 years old) to full glass (for kids 10 and older)
  • Limit outdoor playtime during the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its peak
  • Protect children with SPF 15 or higher sun block, and reapply often
  • Dress children in loose-fitting, light-colored clothing made from natural fibers

Danger for Kids in Hot Cars

While heat stress can affect children playing outside, the most dangerous place for children is in a car.

  • NEVER leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down. When it's 83 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car with the windows rolled down two inches can rise to 109 degrees in just 15 minutes.
  • If any child is locked in a car, call 911 immediately!
  • Touch the car seat before you put a child in it to make sure the surface isn't too hot. A child can be severely burned in just one second.  Watch the metal buckles, too.

Community Cooling Centers:  A lifeline for those at risk

Community cooling centers are opening all around Region VI.  Anyone can go to a cooling center to cool down and rehydrate.  Cooling centers are critical for those who can’t afford air conditioning or are otherwise at risk of getting a heat-related illness.  The centers are often located in public buildings like libraries, gyms or recreation/community centers.  Some may offer first aid, referrals to social services, couches for relaxation, or entertainment for folks while cooling down.  Some communities may even deploy mobile cooling centers.  Call your local 2-1-1 service to find a nearby cooling center and remember to follow FEMA’s extreme heat safety tips.

Mobile Heat Safety App for Outdoor Workers

Outdoor workers are vulnerable in extreme summer heat and anyone doing heavy work or wearing bulky protective clothing is at risk of heat illness. Occupations most affected include construction, transportation, and maintenance.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed a free Heat Safety Tool smartphone app to calculate the heat index and display risk of heat exhaustion. The app gives reminders about drinking enough fluids, taking rest breaks and what to do in an emergency. The Heat Safety Tool is available for iPhone and Android users.

Please stay safe and feel free to share!

Amy Grissom, LMSW
Regional Emergency Management Specialist