Disaster Preparedness: Extreme Heat

Disaster Preparedness: Extreme Heat Plan

As the planet’s climate continues to change, heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense, posing serious challenges to public health, agriculture, energy demand, and overall societal well-being. Understanding the causes, consequences, and strategies to mitigate the effects of heat waves is of paramount importance in adapting to the changing climate and safeguarding communities worldwide.

What is a Heat Wave?

Imagine you experience a couple of sweltering days where the temperature seems abnormally higher than usual – that’s essentially a heat wave at play. Simply put, a heat wave is when your area is taken hostage by unusually high temperatures for a sustained period. Now, how high should the temperature be to call it a heat wave? Well, that’s the interesting part. There’s no fixed number it just has to be significantly above your area’s average temperature. Let it settle in your mind like this; if your area typically experiences a temperature of around 70 degrees but suddenly it’s hitting 80 or above for several consecutive days – you’ve got a heat wave on your hands!

Dangers of Heat Waves

Heatwaves, periods of unusually scorching weather, can be hazardous, especially if they persist for more than a couple of days. They come with a set of risks that you should be aware of:

  • Dehydration: This occurs when your body loses more fluids than you’re taking in, and it can escalate rapidly in extreme heat.
  • Overheating: If you’ve got pre-existing conditions like heart or respiratory problems, stifling heat can aggravate your symptoms.
  • Heat Exhaustion: Characterized by heavy sweating, rapid pulse, and faintness, heat exhaustion can swiftly develop into the more severe condition, heatstroke.

Moreover, the excessive heat can strain our infrastructure- warping railway tracks, increasing power consumption due to added usage of air conditioning, and even impacting agricultural production. So remember, summer doesn’t mean harm’s way; it’s all about being aware and prepared.

Safety Item
OSHA ANSI First Aid Kit (326 Pieces)
9.4/10 Our Score

This comprehensive first aid kit is a must-have for any business or family. It contains 326 pieces of high-quality first aid treatment products that meet or exceed OSHA and ANSI guidelines. The fully organized interior compartments provide quick access to the contents, and the rugged, sturdy, high-density plastic case is impact-resistant and can be wall-mounted or folded for storage.

  • contains 326 pieces of comprehensive first aid treatment products that are manufactured from the highest quality facility
  • kit meets or exceeds OSHA and ANSI 2009 guidelines for 100 people
  • fully organized interior compartments provide quick access to contents
  • rugged, sturdy, high-density plastic case is impact-resistant
  • case can be wall-mounted or folds compactly for storage
  • easy slide latches securely lock the case into place

Prevention and Safety Measures

Don’t let a heat wave catch you off guard! It’s all about effective prevention and timely preventive action that can literally be lifesaving. Let’s go through the practical steps on how you can keep cool and safe.

  1. Have a Cool Spot: First off, make sure you have a cool spot available. Whether it’s a community cooling center or a friend’s place with air conditioning, know where you’ll escape to when temperatures surge.
  2. Watch the Weather: Monitor your city’s weather forecast and heed heat warnings. Don’t take those lightly.
  3. Keep Contact: Keep in touch with your loved ones and neighbors, especially the elderly. Ensure they have access to cool areas.
  4. Hydrate Often: Replace lost salt and minerals with a sports drink or snacks. Good rule of thumb – the hotter it is, the more fluids you need.
  5. Stay Indoors: Limit outdoor activity and wear loose, light clothing.

Remember, safety starts with you! Stay cool, stay hydrated, stay safe.

Symptoms and Treatments of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious conditions that can strike in hot weather. With heat exhaustion, your body loses precious water, salt, and sugars through sweating. You might feel heavy sweating, muscle cramps, dizziness, vomiting and your skin may be cold, pale or clammy. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, hydrate, seek shade, and cool down immediately.

On the other hand, heat stroke occurs when your body overheats, typically marking 103°F or higher. You might suffer from confusion, headache, nausea, a fast, strong pulse and possibly reddened skin. Crucial symptoms also include paler skin and a state of denial about the severity of the situation. If you spot these, dial 911 without delay, get the person into shade or a cooler place, and use cool cloths or a cool bath to bring down body temperature. Prevention is key: stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay safe.

Heat-Related Health Risks

Generally, folks aged 65 years and above are more susceptible to heat, but really, anyone can be at risk, especially from the following:

  • Heart diseases might worsen with the heat.
  • Certain medications could react negatively to hotter temperatures.
  • Too much heat could easily lead to dehydration.
  • If you have breathing difficulties, they might become more exacerbated during a heatwave.
  • Be wary of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • High temperatures could also lead to severe symptoms in older folks like forgetfulness or confusion.

In hot situations, remember to hydrate, rest, and take it easy!

Protecting Yourself from the Heat

Heatwaves can be brutal, so it’s crucial to protect yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Slow it Down: Scrap or reschedule hard tasks, and if you can’t avoid them, aim for the coolest time of the day.
  2. Dress Sensibly: Think lightweight, loose, and light-colored clothes.
  3. Be Sun Smart: Minimize direct sun contact to prevent sunburn which hampers your body from cooling itself.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Drink enough water, but make sure it’s not very cold. Avoid drinks loaded with alcohol or caffeine as they dehydrate you.
  5. Chill Out: Use fans and ACs to cool down or go to air-conditioned locations such as malls.
  6. Check on Others: Vulnerable people might need your assistance; be there for them.

Remember, staying safe is cooler than being cool!

Weather Radio
Raynic 5000 Weather Radio
9/10 Our Score

Are you prepared for an emergency situation? A weather radio with multiple power sources can help you stay informed and connected during a prolonged power outage or natural disaster. Here are some of the features:

  • multiple power backup options, including a hand crank, solar panel, and AC power
  • upgraded crank radio is enough to charge your cell phone or USB devices for a brief call or a text message during an emergency
  • NOAA weather alert radio is specially designed for emergency needs
  • pocket-sized portable emergency radio is surprisingly small and light
  • waterproof IPX3 emergency radio with a backup power source is reliable and necessary for home use and outdoor travel

Keep yourself informed and connected during an emergency with a weather radio featuring 5 power sources, multi-use functionality, a NOAA alert radio, and portability.

Keeping Cool During a Heat Wave

Staying cool during a heat wave is absolutely essential to your health and well-being, buddy. Let’s talk about ways to beat the heat effectively! Here are some quick tips for you:

  1. Keep well-hydrated. Carry a water bottle everywhere!
  2. Say no to sun from 10 AM to 4 PM. Avoid strenuous outdoor activities during these hours.
  3. Play it cool! Use air conditioners smartly or create a cool space with fans and ice.
  4. Mind what you eat. Light, nutritious meals work best.
  5. Dress smart. Light-colored, loose clothes and a hat should be your go-to.
  6. Check on vulnerable family and friends constantly.
  7. Know your resources. Get alerts from the National Weather Service and keep information about nearby shelters handy.

Take note, enjoy the summer but don’t let the heat get you down!

Master Disaster Checklist

If you want to keep your property, family, pets, and business safe during natural disasters, it’s important to be prepared. This master checklist gives you a good foundation for what to do, what to have, and what to plan for.

  • Secure Contact Information: Make sure you have a printed out copy as the power may be out and you might not have access to your computer or documents. Include names and telephone numbers, as well as out-of-town friends or family who might be able to help you. It’s important to have an out-of-town friend listed because your friends who live in your town might not be able to help you if a disaster affected them, too. Additionally, prearrange a nearby meet-up place after the emergency. It could be the local high school, a relative’s home, or a grocery store.
  • Have a Plan: Make sure that all of your family knows about your disaster plan (escape routes, where the emergency kit is stored, who to contact, and what to do in case of a natural disaster).
    • Identify a Safe Room: Point out which room is the safest room in your home. This should be an interior room without windows, if possible (maybe a closet or a bathroom). This is the place your family should seek shelter when storm warnings are issued.
  • Stay Informed: Make sure that you have a portable radio with fully charged batteries so that you can get the latest up-to-date information about the disaster. If you are in the path of the disaster, go to your pre-designated shelter area immediately.
  • Take Photos/Video of Your Property: If you have an inventory of your valuables and possessions you are likely to be able to claim up to 20% more insurance than if you don’t. Taking photos and videos with your cell phone is an easy way to document your items. Be sure to upload all the images to secure cloud backup and not just store on your property.
  • Charge Electronic Devices: During a disaster, you may lose power. Ensure your cell phone is fully charged, along with other electronic devices like tablets and laptop computers. Also, think about purchasing a solar-powered backup charging device.
  • Get Cash: When the power goes out, ATM machines won’t work. Get plenty of one dollar bills because not many people will have change for twenty and hundred dollar bills. Try to aim for ones, fives, and tens.
  • Fill Up on Gas: Fill your gas tank. When the power goes out, gas pumps won’t work.
  • Disaster Supplies Kit: A disaster supplies kit is essential to keeping you and your family safe. It should include non-perishable food, water, medical supplies, clothes, pet food and supplies, medications, batteries, flashlights, etc. Consider the following list: 
    • Flashlight
    • Batteries
    • First Aid Kits: For $20, you can have medical supply basics — all in one place — and ready to use. Minor as well as major injuries are possible during an earthquake and it’s possible that emergency services will be overwhelmed, so having a first aid kit is essential.
    • Solar Cell Phone Charger: Solar powered charges start in the mid-$20 range and go up from there. The best selling Amazon solar charger is $60 and is fast with “industrial-strength PET polymer faced solar panels sewn into a rugged polyester canvas offer weather-resistant outdoor durability.” If the power goes out, you might have no other way to charge your phone.
    • Crank-Powered Radio: You can pay upwards of $100 for a decent crank radio, but you don’t have to spend that much. The best-selling Amazon crank radio is only $20!
    • Emergency Water Filter: There’s no need for an expensive filtration system. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter has 5,000 reviews and is only $20! The LifeStraw “removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns; surpasses EPA filter standards.”
    • Bottled Water (minimum of three gallons for each member of your family)
    • Battery-Powered Radio
    • Battery-Powered Lantern
    • Emergency Food Supply
    • Can Opener
    • Basic Tools (utility knife, pliers, wrench, tape, compass)
    • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, toilet paper)
    • Pencils and Paper
    • Pet Supplies (food, litter)
    • Rain Gear
    • Sleeping Bag
    • Change of Clothes
    • Plastic Garbage Bags
    • Face Masks
    • Gloves
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Cleaning Wipes
  • Have a “Go Bag”: Having an emergency bag packed with essentials (food, clothes, toiletries, cash, etc.) can save you time in a crisis. P.S. A little bit of toilet paper goes a long way…
  • Gather Your Important Papers: Keep all special papers and photographs in a watertight container or plastic bag. You know, all of those important things like bank account papers, birth certificates, property deeds, medical cards, social security cards, etc. as well as photos and important keepsakes which can never be replaced. During a disaster, they could all be ruined and washed away forever in one whoosh!
    • Identification (copy of driver’s license or passport)
    • Insurance Policies
    • Birth Certificates
    • Marriage Certificates
    • Proof of Residence (copy of lease, mortgage documents)
    • Deeds or Wills
    • Tax Returns
    • Social Security Cards
  • Plan for Your Pets: Many hotels and motels won’t accommodate your pets, so if your plan is to evacuate to a hotel, then you’ll need to find them a safe boarding kennels or cattery which is outside of the disaster’s impact zone. Be sure you have plenty of your pet’s preferred food and whatever medications they might need.
  • Refill Your Medications: Make sure that you have plenty of your prescription medicines on hand. If a disaster hits your area, the last thing you want to worry about is a medical emergency. 
  • Disaster Insurance: Check your insurance coverage as part of your disaster preparedness plan. Many home insurance policies do not cover hazards like flooding caused by hurricanes, for example. If you live in a disaster-prone area, consider getting insurance to cover damages.
  • Have a Plan for After the Disaster: After a disaster, get out of town until emergency services and law enforcement have gotten control of the situation. Unfortunately, like many other disaster situations, there are people who will try to take advantage of the chaos. It’s best to avoid being in the disaster zone until things are under control.