SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Summer heat safety week continues Thursday with ways to prepare for the heat and actions to take to protect yourself and your family.
One of the easiest ways to stay safe from the heat is to know and pay attention to the forecast. This way you can plan your outdoor activities around the hottest days or the hottest parts of an excessively hot day.
Preparation Before Heatwaves
Before summer heatwaves setup is the time to prepare. Just like for any other kind of inclement weather.
All the time, Storm Team 3 talks about staying hydrated on hot days. You should have a supply of water to have with you if you need to leave for a cooler place. This is especially important if you or your family are extra vulnerable to heat related illness.
Get to know your neighbors and check in on them. Elderly people are more vulnerable and may not have the means to get needed supplies or to relocate to a cooler place if needed.
It is also a good idea to learn basic first aid that includes how to treat heat related illness. This helps in knowing when to get professional medical attention for serious situations.
Before the summer heat sets in is a good time to check your air conditioning systems and to get a tune-up. If systems are not operating at maximum efficiency, air systems can not keep up and can breakdown easily during excessive heatwaves.
While having your air conditioning tuned-up is a good time to check the weather stripping on your doors and windows. Adding a weather stripping creates a tight seal and will keep the cool air in and the hot air out. Not only does this keep your house cooler, but can help you save some money on your energy bill by helping the air conditioner run more efficiently.
Actions During Heatwaves
During excessively hot heatwaves, stay hydrated with water even when you are not thirsty. That is the best defense against being affected by heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
If you must be outside in the heat, wearing light colored clothing and hats will help you to stay a little cooler in the sun. Plus don’t forget the sunscreen.
Take plenty of breaks from working in the heat in the shade or go into an air conditioned environment. Listen to your body. If you start to feel any heat illness symptoms, take a break.
Do not leave kids or pets in cars under any circumstance. With the windows closed, the interior temperature of a car can get as hot as 120°F in just ten minutes. During excessive heatwaves, cars can easily overheat and breakdown. The internal cooling systems can not keep up while idling and running the air conditioning under those conditions.
Check in on your elderly family or neighbors to make sure they are staying cool and hydrated. If needed, relocate them to a cooler place. Many communities offer public cooling centers during excessive heatwaves.
Lastly, a great defense to heat illnesses is to avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the hottest parts of the day. This is true under normal circumstances, but is especially true in excessive heat.