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How to Survive Extreme Heat

Arizona has some of the highest temperatures in the country. The dangers of extreme heat are very real. Extreme heat can be deadly if you don't respond properly to life-threatening conditions.



Prepare Your Home to Protect Your Family

There are steps you can take to make your home a better place to stay during the hottest temperature:
  1. Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if needed.
  2. Check air conditioning ducts for proper insulation.

  3. Install temporary window reflectors for use between windows and drapes, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.

  4. Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.

  5. 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.

  6. Keep storm windows up all year.

During a Heat Emergency

Here are some guidelines of how to best handle extremely hot weather:
  1. Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.

  2. Stay on the lowest floor out of the sun if air conditioning is not available.

  3. Spend the warmest part of the day in public buildings (libraries, schools, malls, etc.).

  4. Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals and avoid salt tablets (unless directed).

  5. Drink plenty of water. Consult your doctor if you have medical fluid retention problems.

  6. Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages; they raise your body temperature.

  7. Dress in baggy, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.

  8. Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

  9. Check on family, friends, and neighbors who are alone and do not have air conditioning.

  10. Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.

  11. Avoid hard physical work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system and take frequent breaks.

Watch for Heat-Related Illnesses

Condition Symptoms First Aid Response
Severe Sunburn • Skin redness
• Pain
• Possible swelling
• Blisters
• Fever
• Headaches
• Take a shower
• Use soap to clean skin
• Apply dry, sterile dressing
• Seek medical attention
Heat Cramps • Painful spasms
  (in legs or
   abdomen)
• Heavy sweating
• Move to cooler location
• Gently stretch muscles to
  relieve spasms
• Sips of cool water every
  15 minutes
• No caffeine, no alcohol
• Discontinue liquids if
   nauseated
Heat Exhaustion   • Heavy sweating
• May be cool,
  pale, flushed or
  have normal body
  temperature
• Fainting, dizziness
• Exhaustion
• Headaches
• Lie down
• Loosen or remove clothing
• Apply cool, wet clothes or towels
• Fan or seek air conditioning
• Give sips of water if awake
• Sips of cool water every
   15 minutes
• Discontinue liquids if nauseated
• Seek immediate medical
  attention if vomiting begins
Heat Stroke • Temperature of
  105+
• Hot, red, dry skin
• Rapid, weak pulse
• No or stop sweating
• Possibly
  unconscious
Danger! Call 9-1-1
• Move to cooler location
• Remove clothing
• Cool bath, sponging or
   cover in a cool, wet sheet
• Watch breathing
• Use extreme caution
• Use fans and air conditioners


For more information on tornado preparedness, check "Are You Ready?" from FEMA and "Heat Wave: A Major Summer Killer", from the National Weather Service.

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