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Operation Weather Survival and United Way 2-1-1 remind you to take care during hot weather advisories, warnings and emergencies. For information on what to do during a hot-weather emergency, dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626. For senior citizens or people with disabilities worried about not being able to pay for air-conditioning related energy costs, bill payment assistance information and referrals are available by calling the above numbers. All calls are free and confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year.
Cooling sites are available if an Excessive Heat Advisory (if the heat index is expected to reach 105°F or air temperature reaches 100°F) or an Excessive Heat Warning (a heat index of at least 105°F for more than three hours per day for two consecutive days, or if the heat index is greater than 115°F for any period of time) is issued by the National Weather Service. To ensure a cooling site is operating during the time you plan to visit, please contact the site ahead of time.
Taking preventive action is your best defense against having to deal with extreme hot-weather conditions. One way is through weatherization programs, please call 2-1-1 for more information.
Below are tips, compiled by Operation Weather Survival to help keep you safe and cool during hot weather emergencies.
Hot weather tips:
• Stay cool — Stay out of the direct sun and heat. Spend as many hours as possible in a cool place. Minimize physical activity. Take cool baths or showers; use cool towels. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose fitting clothing. Use air-conditioning if available.
• Keep cool — Close your curtains and windows in the morning to keep the sun and heat out of your home. Open windows and doors at night to cool inside temperatures. Keep electric lights off or turned down. If you don’t have air-conditioning leave your home and go to a cool safe place, senior centers, shopping malls, etc. are options. You can locate a cooling center by dialing 2-1-1 or visiting www.211helps.org.
• Drink plenty of water/natural juices — Cool drinks help to replenish fluid losses due to increased perspiration in high temperature. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of fluids every day. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they cause your body to lose more water. Keep a few bottles of water in your freezer — if the power goes out, move them to your refrigerator and keep the doors shut. Eat light foods.
• Know your neighbors — Develop a personal support network of people who will check in with you at least twice a day throughout warm weather periods, and plan how you will help each other in an emergency. Watch for signs of heat stroke and/or heat exhaustion. Call for help when needed. Please help to monitor seniors or people with functional needs (disabled) who are at greater risk during hot weather periods.
• Plan ahead — Ask your doctor about any prescription medicine you keep refrigerated (most medicine will be fine to leave in a closed refrigerator for at least 3 hours). Make plans for any animals and pets. In the event of a power loss, keep a battery-operated radio on hand to hear news reports and a flashlight handy for lighting. Remember extra batteries. Do not use candles due to fire hazards. Cordless phones may not operate during power outages so keep a corded phone handy or plugged into another jack.
Call 911 if you or anyone you know needs medical attention — Warning signs of heat illness include heavy sweating, cramps, headache, nausea or vomiting, tiredness, weakness, dizziness and fainting.