What do you do when a heat wave hits? This summer has brought some record-breaking summer temperatures. In the West, it was so hot that planes were not permitted to fly, roads buckled and power outages occurred due to the strain on the power grid. Get 10 tips for staying cool in extreme heat!
What Are Heat Waves?
A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat—generally 10 degrees or more above average—that is often combined with excessive humidity. Young children, those who are sick, and the elderly are most susceptible to heat-related illnesses. However, anyone can suffer from a heat-related illness if they over-exert themselves or simply don’t take extreme heat warnings seriously.
While extreme cold is also dangerous, heat waves become life-threatening more quickly if proper precautions are not taken. In recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods. Of all natural disasters, heat holds the highest 10-year average of fatalities with 113. Whether your region is experiencing a heat wave or record-breaking temperatures, here’s advice courtesy of Cummins Generators to keep your family, friends, and neighbors safe this summer.
How to Prepare for and Prevent Heat Wave Danger
- Properly install window air conditioners, sealing any cracks and insulating if necessary.
- Check A/C ducts for proper insulation and clean filters.
- Install awnings, blinds, or light-colored drapes and keep them closed to keep sunlight and heat out.
- Upgrade your windows and weather-strip doors to keep heat out and cool air in.
- Make sure your first aid kit is updated and get trained in first aid relief.
- Have a plan for wherever you (and your family members/pets) spend time during a heat wave—home, work, and school—and prepare for power outages. Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household.
- Check the contents of your emergency disaster kit in case a power outage occurs.
- Be aware of weather forecasts and the upcoming temperature changes.
- It’s not just the high temperature. The heat index is the temperature the body feels when the effects of heat and humidity are combined. See our heat index chart.
- Of course, a backhome home generator is the safest and most reliable solution! Power outages are common during heatwaves because the need for A/C puts too much pressure on the power grids. A standby generator, however, automatically keeps the A/C running, the lights on, food and medicine from spoiling, and medical devices operating. It’s important you have a generator that can handle your power needs, too. Cummins Home Generators has a handy free evaluation to figure out how much power you use—and need.
10 Tips for Surviving a Heat Wave While It’s Happening
- Never leave children or pets alone in hot vehicles—even for a second.
- Stay inside during the hottest part of the day (10 A.M to 4 P.M.) and limit time outside in the Sun. Avoid strenuous activity and postpone outdoor games and events.
- If A/C is not available, stay indoors on the lowest floor in a well-ventilated area with fans. Keep shades and blinds closed.
- Stay hydrated with plenty of water—even if you’re not thirsty. Don’t drink alcohol, sugary soda or drinks, or other caffeinated beverages, as they will only make dehydration worse.
- Eat small meals and eat more often.
- Use sunscreen and wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a hat made of breathable material.
- During heat waves, tune to a NOAA radio station and listen for weather updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
- Visit air-conditioned public spaces such as malls, movie theaters, and libraries to keep cool.
- Check on family and friends who are more susceptible, especially if they may have lost A/C. Keep your pets indoors and make sure they have access to a cool space and plenty of water.
- If you feel overheated, cool off with wet washcloths, fans, and a cool sponge bath or shower.
Too hot at the house? Go to the library or a designated public shelter if your home loses power during periods of extreme heat.Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
Exploring a Home Generator
If you remain concerned about heat waves and power outages, be sure to check into a standby home generator. The folks at Cummins offer this quick and free evaluation of your home’s generator needs and, without charge, Cummins will also send a representative to help you find the generator that’s right for your home. (Cummins are the folks who provide backup power to places like the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore, so they are a trusted leader in generators!)
We hope these tips are helpful during the next heat wave. Print out this list and place it with your First Aid Kit so you’re better prepared when a heat wave hits.