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Extreme Heat

Orange County regularly experiences heat waves, which can be particularly dangerous for children, seniors, residents with cardiovascular disease, or those taking psychotropic and other medications. Heat waves can even cause casualties when the situation is severe. We enjoy the benefits of modern amenities, such as air conditioning and ice dispensers, but what do you do when these services fail?


Studies show that a significant rise in heat-related illnesses occurs when excessive heat lasts for more than two days. Spending even two hours per day in air-conditioned spaces can significantly reduce the number of heat-related illnesses.

  • Check your local weather forecast regularly by visiting the National Weather Service. Also, make it a habit to watch news reports so that you’re aware when there will be hot weather conditions.

  • Find places in your community where you can go get cool. Many libraries, community centers, senior centers, shopping centers, and county parks have interior spaces that are air-conditioned and open to the public.

  • Keep your home cool by covering windows with drapes/shades, add insulation to keep the heat out, use attic fans to clear hot air, and install window air conditioners and insulate around them.

  • Power outages may occur when there is extreme heat. Click here to review safety tips for power outages.

Preparing for Extreme Heat
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Drinking 2 to 4 glasses of water every hour during times of extreme heat is one of the best ways to avoid heat-exhaustion and fatigue.

  • Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Avoid polyester and other synthetic materials if you can. Light, natural fibers, like cotton or linen, absorb sweat and dry quickly. The materials clothing is made from can affect how cool or hot the wearer stays.

  • Stay in the shade whenever you can, and wear wide-brimmed hats as well as sunscreen.

  • Avoid the sun if you can, staying indoors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the burning rays are strongest. Try to plan outdoor activities early in the morning or later in the evening. Avoid over-strenuous activities.

  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.

  • Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.

  • Don't forget about your pets! If they are outside, make sure they have plenty of cool water and access to some shade. Asphalt and dark pavement can burn your pet's feet!

  • Check regularly on those who are at a higher risk of heat-related illnesses. This can include seniors, children under 4, overweight individuals, people who overexert during work or exercise, and those with heart-related medical conditions.

Image by Bluewater Sweden
Staying Safe During Extreme Heat

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