With temperatures rising, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® provides the following tips for before and during extreme heat, and how to identify heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Extreme heat is a fatal weather risk in the United States, and everyone is at risk, especially the elderly, very young, and those who work outdoors.
Before the Heat Wave:
- 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.
- Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes, keep your NOAA weather radio or FLASH Weather Alerts App handy.
When Temperatures Soar:
- The coolest part of the day is normally sunrise, so plan any necessary strenuous activity for the morning.
- Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine.
- Drink plenty of water even if you don’t feel thirsty as water is most hydrating liquid to drink during a heat wave.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they can intensify the negative effect on your body.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect some of the sun’s energy.
- Never leave children, elderly, or pets in the car even with the windows down. Although the outside air temperatures may seem comfortable, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise 40 to 50 degrees and swiftly create deadly, oven-like conditions.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion:
- Cool, flushed, moist, or pale skin
- Heavy sweating and high body temperature
Signs of Heat Stroke:
- Hot, red skin
- Changes in consciousness
- A rapid, weak pulse
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- A very high body temperature – even as high as 105 degrees F.
- If the person was sweating from heavy work or exercise, skin may be wet; otherwise, it will feel dry
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is the country’s leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and man-made disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 120 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster‐resilient nation including: BASF, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Division of Emergency Management, The Home Depot®, International Code Council, Kohler® Generators, National Weather Service, Portland Cement Association, Simpson Strong-Tie®, State Farm™, and USAA®. In 2008, FLASH® and Disney opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and gain access to its free consumer resources by visiting www.flash.org or calling (877) 221- SAFE (7233). Also, get timely safety tips to ensure that you and your family are protected from natural and manmade disasters by subscribing to the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH, and following the FLASH Twitter and Facebook accounts.