The National Weather Service Forecast Office reports that heat related deaths among young people in Florida are more likely than other weather related deaths, because of overexertion in the heat. A checklist of heat safety tips is a quick and easy way to make sure your family stays safe during these hot months.
Learn About Heat
Sign up for weather alerts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will keep your local media informed about heat waves and potentially dangerous situations and will issue heat safety tips appropriate for your area.
Know the difference between Excessive Heat announcements.
An Outlook is when a heat event will likely occur within 3 to 7 days. This is a forecast.
A Watch is when a heat event will likely occur within 24 to 72 hours. This means that conditions are favorable right now for an event to occur.
A Warning/Advisory is when a heat event is occurring and immediate action is required. Your alert will tell you what the recommended action is – don’t delay in following directions.
Excessive heat announcements are issued based on the heat index, which tells you how hot it really feels. Say it’s 96 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity is 65%. The heat index – how hot it really feels – is 121 degrees Fahrenheit. NOAA initiates alerts when the heat index is between 105 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take Care of Your Home
Give your home AC unit lots of love. If you take care of it, it will take care of you. Be sure to keep a routine maintenance schedule with a qualified professional. You don’t want to lose your AC during a critical heat event and regular care of your home’s cooling system will ensure that you won’t have to worry about that.
Conduct a regular home energy audit each year. You will use your AC more during summer months and an energy audit is one of those heat safety tips that will help you feel great saving money as staying cool.
Compare past cooling and heating bills
Check your insulation for efficiency
Plug up any air leaks where cool air may escape. Look for more ideas on cutting down your energy bill here.
In critically hot weather, don’t stop and start your home cooling system. When the temperatures inside your car and outdoors escalate, keep your home cool enough for immediate relief. It is more energy efficient to keep your air conditioning on while you are away than to let your house get very hot and try to cool it off again and it is safer for you and your family, too.
Summer is a great time to help children learn about heat safety tips and about the responsible care of your air conditioning system. Walk them through the use of the thermostat, your scheduled AC maintenance, and your energy efficient goals. More great heat safety tips to help you make the most of this learning opportunity can be found here.
Take Care of Yourself and Your Family
Strenuous physical activities and heat do not mix well. Plan hikes, walks, or runs during cool early morning or late evening hours.
Stay indoors between the hottest hours of the day. Plan indoor activities and games for children and be prepared with coloring books, puzzles, movies and crafts.
Be aware of the symptoms of heat related illnesses and first aid.
Heat cramps occur in the legs and abdomen and are accompanied by heavy sweating. Hydrate slowly with sips of water and massage cramping muscles. Discontinue water if nausea develops.
Heat exhaustion is noticeable when someone becomes pale and clammy, dizzy, sweats heavily and becomes weak. Move into a shaded or cool area. Fan, apply wet, cool rags, loosen clothing, and hydrate slowly with sips of water. If vomiting occurs, seek medical assistance.
Heat stroke occurs when heat exhaustion has not been treated. Red skin, altered mental state, and even unconsciousness can occur. Seek medical attention at once. Meanwhile, try to cool body temperature with cool compresses. Do not give the victim water.
When planning outings, be sure to use sunscreen, even if you won’t be outdoors very long. Sunburns can make heat illnesses more likely. Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before leaving home and reapply every two hours.
Hydrate! Your internal organs need water to function. Heat and dehydration thicken your blood and make your heart, lungs and kidneys work harder.
Enjoy summer beverages, but be sure that you add plenty of water to your diet choices. Alcoholic beverages, caffeine and carbonation all dehydrate rather than hydrate.
Make flavored ice cubes with fresh juice to snack on.
Freeze bottled water and drink it as it melts during the day. It will stay cool and refreshing and won’t feel like your guzzling water all day.
Animals need special care during hot months as well. They don’t sweat and cool like people do, so it’s important to provide them with lots of fresh water. Add ice cubes to cool their drink down. Be sure they have a cool place to nap and don’t walk them during the hot portion of the day. An outdoor kiddie pool makes a great pet play place. More great tips on animal care can be found here.
Keep An Eye On Others
Check in with elderly folks and neighbors who may not be able to look after their animals or do errands in very hot weather. People who are home bound, disabled, or ill may need a hand. If you notice animals left out in the heat of the day, your neighbor may need assistance caring for their animals. Being a good neighbor works both ways – you’ll have plenty of folks checking in on you, too.
We know how important reliable air conditioning is to the safety and welfare of our family. If you are concerned about your HVAC system or are ready for routine maintenance, call us today.