A heat wave can be defined as an extended period of extreme heat, which is often accompanied by high humidity. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), extreme heat is the number one weather-related killer. On average, more than 1,500 people in the U.S. die each year from excessive heat. Older adults, young children, and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to succumb to extreme heat.
How Can I Be Prepared for Extreme Heat?
- Drink plenty of water or other non-alcohol fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool.
- Take it easy. Strenuous activities should be reduced or rescheduled for the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place.
- 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.)
- Wear lightweight light-colored clothing that reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
Extreme Heat Links
FEMA: Extreme Heat
Ready.gov: Extreme Heat
NOAA - Extreme Heat
CDC: Extreme Heat
American Red Cross