Be #SummerReady: Learn How to Stay Safe and Cool

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Extreme heat is already affecting many areas of the U.S. This type of weather can impact every aspect of our lives, directly shaping how we work, learn and live.

Last year was the hottest year on record, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts this summer will also bring above-normal temperatures across most of the country. Heat waves are growing more intense and frequent, taking a toll on health across the country sending tens of thousands of people to the emergency room. Since 2021, the U.S. has experienced a 43.7% increase in heat-related deaths.

Heat does not affect all populations the same way. Outdoor workers, children, older adults, people with underlying health conditions and underserved and overburdened communities are especially at risk from the dangers of extreme heat.

Additionally, heat can fuel more frequent, more intense and larger hurricanes and increase the risk of wildfires.

FEMA is dedicated to minimizing these risks by supporting communities and preparing individuals.

In coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FEMA presented an Extreme Heat Summit as part of the agency’s #SummerReady Campaign. The summit focused on the actions state, local, Tribal Nation and territorial leaders, emergency managers and communities to take action to reduce the impacts individuals face due to extreme heat. Watch the heat summit at DHS/FEMA 2024 #SummerReady Extreme Heat Summit on YouTube.

Additionally, FEMA Region 5 hosted a two-day #SummerReady and Extreme Heat Summit focused on actions state, local, tribal, territorial leaders can take to reduce the effects of extreme temperatures.


To build heat resilience for you and your family, follow these tips to help you stay #SummerReady and be prepared for extreme heat:

Prepare for Extreme Heat

  • Visit FEMA's Ready #SummerReady Campaign page for more tips on how you can stay safe.
  • Utilize the National Integrated Heat Health Information System extreme heat tracking tools on to prepare for heat events and know your extreme heat risk.
  • Learn to recognize the signs of heat illness on, including heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, fainting and rashes.
  • Learn about watch and warning alerts for extreme heat by visiting Heat Watch vs. Warning on
  • Create a maintenance checklist for your cooling system by visiting
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort but do not reduce body temperature or prevent heat-related illnesses.
  • Identify places in your community where you can get cool by visiting the National Center for Healthy Housing to find cooling centers by state. You can also call 3-1-1 to connect to resources for extreme heat.
  • If you can, install window air conditioners and insulate around them.
  • Cover windows with drapes or shades and keep them shut during the day.
  • When possible, add insulation to keep the heat out.
  • If you are unable to afford your cooling costs, weatherization, or energy-related home repairs and improvements, contact the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program for help.

Be Safe During Extreme Heat

  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car on a warm day.
  • If air conditioning is unavailable in your home, go to a cooling center.
  • Take cool showers or baths.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Use your oven less to help reduce the temperature in your home.
  • If you are outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid high-energy activities or work outdoors during midday heat, if possible.
  • Check on family members, older adults and neighbors.
  • If your pet is outside, ensure they have plenty of cool water and access to shade. Asphalt and dark pavement can be very hot and can injure your pet’s feet.

Recognize and Respond to Extreme Heat

Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious medical conditions. Here are some signs to watch for and how to respond if you think you’re experiencing one of these emergencies.

Heat Cramps

  • Signs: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms or legs.
  • Actions: Go to a cooler location, remove excess clothing and take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. If cramps last more than an hour, get medical help.

Heat Exhaustion

  • Signs: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fainting.
  • Actions: Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks containing electrolytes like salt and sugar. Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.

Heat Stroke

  • Signs: Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) indicated by an oral thermometer; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; and unconsciousness.
  • Actions: Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.

This summer, you can be prepared for extreme heat by learning the risks and ways to stay safe. Join FEMA's #SummerReady Campaign by committing to check in on one another and making sure you and your loved ones have a plan to stay safe this summer.

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