Why Prepare?

Basic Preparedness
Getting Informed
Planning and Checklists
Special Needs
Disaster Supplies Kit

Natural Hazards
Thunderstorms and lightning
Winter storms and extreme cold
Extreme heat
Landslides and debris flow

Technological Hazards
Hazardous materials incidents
Household chemical emergencies
Nuclear power plant emergencies

Biological threats
Chemical threats
Nuclear blasts
Radiological dispersion device events

Recovering from Disaster
Health and safety guidelines
Returning home
Seeking disaster assistance
Coping with disaster
Helping others

Extreme Heat
Heat kills; pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.
Most heat disorders occur because the victim has been overexposed or over-exercised for the age and physical condition. Older adults and young children are more likely to succumb to extreme heat.
Know the Terms:

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an extreme heat hazard:
Heat Wave: Prolonged period of excessive heat often combined with excessive humidity
Heat Index: In degrees how hot it actually feels when relative humidity is added to air temperature. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees
Heat Cramps: Muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are often the first signal that the body is having trouble with the heat
Heat Exhaustion: Typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victimís condition will worsen. Body temperature will keep rising and the victim may suffer heat stroke
Heat Stroke: A life-threatening condition. The victimís temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. Sun stroke is a variation of heat stroke.

Take Protective Measures
What can I do Before Extreme Heat?

To prepare for extreme heat, you should:

Install window air conditioners snugly

Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation

Install temporary window reflectors 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 or awnings

Keep storm windows up all year

What do I do During a Heat Emergency?

The following are guidelines for what to do if the weather is extremely hot:

Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun

Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available

Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls and other community facilities

Eat light and regular meals

Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician

Drink plenty of water

Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible

Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat

Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone

Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles

Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day

What are and how do I treat Heat-Induced Illnesses?

Extreme heat brings with it the possibility of heat-induced illnesses.


Skin redness and pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever, headaches

Take a shower using soap to remove oils that may block pores, preventing the body from cooling naturally
Apply dry, sterile dressings to any blisters and get medical attention.

Heat Cramps

Painful spasms, usually in leg and abdominal muscles; heavy sweating

Get the victim to a cooler location
Lightly stretch and gently massage affected muscles to relieve spasms
Give sips of up to a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes
Discontinue liquids, if victim is nauseated

Heat Exhaustion

Heavy sweating but skin may be cool, pale or flushed
Weak pulse
Fainting or dizziness, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion and headaches

Get victim to lie down in a cool place
Loosen or remove clothing
Apply cool, wet clothes
Move victim to air-conditioned place or fan them off
Give sips of water if victim is conscious
Be sure water is consumed slowly
Give half glass of cool water every 15 minutes
Discontinue water if victim is nauseated
Seek immediate medical attention if vomiting occurs

Heat Stroke

High body temperature (105+)
Hot, red, dry skin
Rapid, weak pulse
Rapid, shallow breathing

Victim will probably not sweat unless victim was sweating from recent strenuous activity
Possible unconsciousness

Call 9-1-1 or emergency medical services or get the victim to a hospital immediately.
Delay can be fatal
Move victim to a cooler environment
Removing clothing
Try a cool bath, sponging or wet sheet to reduce body temperature
Watch for breathing problems
Use extreme caution
Use fans and air conditioners

What do I do After Extreme Heat?

Follow the instructions for recovering from a disaster