In 2011, 3 in a million people die due to heat-related reasons. This includes heat strokes and dehydration. Back in 1995 between July 11 and July 27, 465 heat related deaths were recorded in Cook County in Chicago.
Nobody wants to be part of the ugly statistics especially when you are talking about deaths during extreme heat conditions. So we prepared a list of the things you can do to get your extreme heat preparedness up to speed.
Preparing for Extreme Heat Conditions
Most extreme heat conditions are what we call a “heat wave”. A heat wave is an extremely long period of excessively or extreme heat conditions. Most heat waves are accompanied by high humidity. While there is no standard temperature range for a heat wave, it is usually measured relative to the normal temperatures for a specific season. The worst heat waves in history has caused crop failures, hundreds of thousands of deaths due to hyperthermia, and general lifestyle interruptions.
So how do you and your family prepare for something as big as this?
1. Start with a plan – Keeping a family disaster supply kit surely won’t hurt but you should talk to your family about a disaster plan. This includes discussing how you can communicate in the event of a power outage or network interruption. Your plan should also prioritize the young and old as they are more susceptible to the effects of extreme hot weather. Make sure you have a way of checking out extreme heat alerts in your area may it be through radio or television.
2. Check your own home – Make sure your house is weather proof. This means checking every nook and cranny for any structural damage that might make your house a big oven instead of a safe haven. When installing air conditioning units, make sure you install them snugly and use insulation if necessary. Using window reflectors can also help reflect heat back outside of your home.
What to Do During Weather with Extreme Heat Conditions
1. Listen for critical updates on the weather – The best weapon to have during extreme heat conditions is knowledge. Listen in for extreme heat alerts in your area. You should know when it hits and where it hits the hardest.
2. Don’t let kids or pets inside enclosed vehicles for long periods of time – Cars become moving ovens during extreme heat conditions.
3. Drink plenty of water – Stay away from alcoholic and caffeinated drinks for a while. Keep yourself hydrated at all times.
4. Don’t let kids or pets out during the hottest times of the day – It’s risky to let kids or your pets out to play when it is too hot outside. Listen to the radio or watch the updates on the weather channel on what times of the day are the hottest.
5. Make sure your pets get enough water and shade – A lot of pets die during extremely hot weather because most owners forget that they need more water and proper shade. Check on them from time to time and if you feel like they are weakening then don’t hesitate to rush them to the vet.
6. Stay indoors – As much as possible, stay indoors and avoid straining yourself. Note that during heat waves, you will sweat more which means you get dehydrated quite fast. Also, wearing loose-fitting, lightweight, and light colored clothing can help cool your body.