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Keeping Your Cool during Extreme Heat

Extreme heat presents a hazard when it lasts for an extended period of time. This weather condition is often accompanied by high humidity, which can make outside temperatures appear dramatically hotter. Although the heat will make you uncomfortable, you can be ready to beat the extreme temperatures, with the right preparations.

Preparing Your Home for Extreme Heat

You should have some supplies ready in your home in case of an extreme heat wave. Aluminum foil can be your best friend when it gets hot. By covering your windows with foil, you can reflect sunlight away from your house, rather than inside it. This can help lower the temperature inside your home.

Use weather-stripping around your windows and doors, or any other area that allows heat to creep in. Use a foam sealant around the edges of your air conditioner to prevent cool air from escaping.

If you have a ceiling fan, make sure it’s set for summertime use. It should turn counterclockwise when you look up at it. Most ceiling fans have a switch on the side that will reverse the rotation for summer and winter use. Use a ceiling fan in conjunction with your air conditioner to keep it cooler inside.

Have a well-stocked emergency supply kit in your home. If there’s a power outage during an extreme heat wave, the food in your refrigerator can spoil quickly. Having food, a water purifier, baby wipes, a hand-cranked radio and other supplies in your emergency kit are essential. Consider purchasing a backup generator and long extension cords for this eventuality. You could keep your refrigerator or air conditioner running for short periods to keep things cool.

Going Outdoors

If you have to go outside during extreme heat, take the necessary precautions. Start by wearing adequate clothing. Wear light colors, which reflect heat, and apply sunscreen to any exposed areas of your body. Wear a hat to cover your head. Always carry extra water and stay hydrated, even if you’re just going to and from the car and your home or office. Avoid activity outdoors if at all possible. Even light work such as mowing the lawn can lead to heatstroke in extreme temperatures.

Conserve Water

Some areas may experience an extreme water shortage during a heat wave. Make sure you store drinking water ahead of time as part of your emergency plan, in case there’s a shortage or rationing in your community. You need one gallon of drinking water per day, for every person in your household. Plan accordingly, and store as much as you can for a disaster scenario during extreme heat. Listen to the radio or television for announcements about watering your lawn or garden, doing laundry or other emergency instructions about water supplies.

You can beat the heat during extreme temperatures if you know how to prepare ahead of time. Having an available supply of drinking water is a critical step. Learn how to seal your house up to keep out the heat, and keep a well-stocked emergency supply kit in case of an extended period of extreme heat.