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All About Heatwaves: Things you need to know if you find yourself in one.

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Heatwaves: Everything you need to know.
towel wiping sweat

Did you know that 2018 is one of the hottest years in record? It’s currently on track to being the 4th-hottest year in history. With hotter days, we are seeing an increase in heat related illness. Here is everything you need to know to stay safe during the brutal summer heat.  

In the 1960’s heat waves only swept across 1% of the land within our planet. By 2040, heat waves are predicted to sweep across 20%.

According to the American Red Cross, in recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods. A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, generally 10 degrees or more above average, often combined with excessive humidity.

You will likely hear weather forecasters use these terms when a heat wave is predicted in your community:

  • Excessive Heat Watch – Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.
  • Heat Advisory – Heat Index values are forecasting to meet locally defined advisory criteria for 1 to 2 days (daytime highs= 100-105° Fahrenheit).
  • Excessive Heat Warning – Heat Index values are forecasting to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least 2 days (daytime highs= 105-110° Fahrenheit).


What To Do During a Heat Wave

During a heat wave, it’s important to pay attention to the increased heat warnings and use the following tips to keep you and your loved ones safe. According to the Red Cross you should:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol
  • Eat small meals and eat more often
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat
  • Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat 

Still have questions? Ask your doctor for additional tips to help stay safe from the heat.


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