FEMA Promotes Extreme Heat Safety and Preparedness Ahead of Dangerous Long Duration Heat Wave

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Release Date:
June 17, 2024

WASHINGTON -- This week, the National Weather Service reported that more than 72,650,000 people are under heat advisories and excessive heat watches and warnings across much of the Midwest, Great Lakes, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. With the extreme heat forecast expected to last throughout this week and possibly the next, FEMA is encouraging communities to prepare and protect themselves against this hazard. 

Extreme heat is the leading weather-related cause of death in the U.S. However, heat related illnesses and deaths are largely preventable with proper planning, education and action. In April, FEMA launched its annual #SummerReady Campaign with an Extreme Heat Summit to help people and communities build local capacity to prepare for and take actionable steps to address extreme heat. The Summer Ready Campaign provides free and low-cost tips to protect against this serious hazard. As we continue to experience the impacts of this extreme hazards, FEMA urges individuals in affected areas to pay close attention to weather forecasts, heed the advice from local officials and follow these tips to stay safe during extreme heat.

  • Understand Your Risk and Hazard. Summer heat can be especially dangerous for older adults, those who work outside, people with certain health conditions, and those without access to air-conditioning. It’s important to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat stroke and ways to respond. While all heat-related illnesses can require medical attention, heat stroke is always a medical emergency. If you experience – or notice someone else experiencing the symptoms of heat stroke, call 9-1-1 and get the person to a cooler place right away.
  • Keep Everyone Safe. Never leave children or pets alone in hot vehicles. Heat can rise in a car up to 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. It is important to check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Stay Cool. Fans alone aren’t enough in high heat and high humidity. FEMA encourages people and especially those that are vulnerable to go somewhere with air conditioning or visit a public place like the library, museum, or shopping mall to stay cool. Other ways to keep cool include wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing, taking a cool shower or bath to cool off and if you are at home, keep curtains closed to keep the heat out.
  • Stay Hydrated. Drink plenty of water even if you do not feel thirsty and avoid drinks with caffeine. If you have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, are on fluid-restricted diets, or have a problem with fluid retention consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Check the Air Quality. Hot weather can make air quality worse. Poor air quality can be especially dangerous for people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children. You can enter your zip code on the AirNow.gov page to get air quality data where you live. 

Other Important Tips:

  • Extreme heat and heat waves can also affect power systems, as utility companies may shut down portion of the electric grid. If the power goes out, use only flashlights or battery-powered lanterns for emergency lighting. Never use candles during a blackout or power outage due to extreme risk of fire.
  • Use generators safely and always use them outdoors and at least 20 feet from windows, doors and attached garages. Make sure to keep the generator dry and protected from rain or flooding.
  • Visit Ready.gov or Listo.gov for more information on how to stay safe before, during and after extreme heat.

FEMA's mission is helping people before, during and after disasters.

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