How to Be Prepared for a Heat Wave

Last Updated: July 31, 2022

Heat waves continue to wash over America. Here’s an updated guide on how to handle overheating and heat exhaustion.

…Monsoonal moisture will continue to support widespread showers and thunderstorms across parts of the Southwest and southern Rockies over the next few days, with additional concerns for flash flooding…

…Some severe weather possible through this evening across parts of the Midwest, with a severe weather and flash flood threat focusing farther east on Wednesday toward the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic…

…Cooler temperatures arriving over the Midwest while high heat and humidity builds from the Mid-South to the Gulf Coast and Southeast…

Short Range Public Discussion

Preparation Begins Before a Heatwave

Heat waves are more than just hot temperatures. They represent changing conditions within the human body. If you or a loved one is especially at risk or sensitive to the effects of heat, then begin your preparations for higher temperatures well before summer.

Your House, Home, or Apartment

  • Make sure your home can be adequately ventilated and has access to wind. Unless you plan on running air conditioning the entire heat wave duration, it’s always good to air out any stagnant air.
  • If you are planning on controlling your home environment, make sure that all potential outlets for cooled air are adequately sealed, so that your air conditioning system filters warm air from the outside to cool your home.
  • This is a good time to make sure your windows are properly shaded, and you’ve already installed different versions of a transition to solar power from simple lighting to powering appliances.
  • Power failures during heatwaves happen. If you’re AC has malfunctioned, be sure to have backup sources of power that are advantageous in hot weather: solar. At the very least, you’ll be able to power a fan.
  • Effective insulation keeps your home or space warmer in cooler temperatures and cooler in warmer temperatures. Make sure it’s good to go.

Water Sources and Filtration

If you’ve chosen a homestead or location that has access to natural running water that won’t dry out in the event of a drought or heat wave, congratulations, you’ve done your homework. If you aren’t that lucky, there are some simple heatwave preparations you can undertake.

Attach a water filtration system to your home water systems. In case you run out of bottled water, or in the event that it isn’t available in stores, at least you’ll have filtered water to drink.

A healthy stock of bottled water. As the average person needs at least 16 ounces of water per day to survive 1-2 weeks, and double that for longer periods (potentially a lifetime), and as of 2022, the average heat wave lasts about 70 days, plan to stock about that much per person in your household as a minimum.

Star Wars | If you’re outside of city limits, your water filtration devices and systems become even more important to have, maintain, and be able to repair.

Your Medicine Is Important.

Understand Your Health Conditions | Your health can be affected during a heatwave, especially if you have a medical condition or are more at risk to the effects of heat.

It is important to prepare well ahead of a heatwave, especially if you are more at risk or sensitive to the effects of heat, or if you are caring for someone who is more susceptible to the heat.

In higher temperatures, people’s heart rates fluctuate, are more easily impacted by stress, and there’s a loss or shift in the normal flow of electrolytes within your body.

Everything’s affected.

Do you have all the medicines you need?

Stock up.

Have you stored your medicines properly?

Storing Medicine in Heat Waves | Most medications need to be stored at a temperature below 25 degrees Celsius. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure about the correct storage temperatures.

Hot Medicine | Many prescribed medications can make the risk of heat-related illness worse. Medications can become less effective or toxic when overheated.

For the long term, freeze-dry. Seal and store your meds properly.

What happens if your normal expectation of the supply of medicine is disrupted?

Talk to your doctor and…stock up.

Are you prepared?

Yes, no, maybe?

During-a-Heatwave Checklist

  • Check fridges, freezers, fans, and air-conditioners work properly.
  • Be prepared for power failure.
  • Stock up on food, water, and medicine for your household and pets to last at least a week so you don’t have to go out in a heatwave.
  • Keep cool packs in the fridge or freezer to help you cool down.
  • Fill spray bottles with cool water to spray on your face and body.
  • Insulate your house to help it keep cool in summer and warm in winter
  • Be prepared for potential bush or wild fires.
  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast and updates.
  • Make sure you know who to call if you need help
  • Get your doctor’s advice on any heat-related medical conditions and how much water you should be drinking. 32 ounces a day as a minimum.
  • Emergency, first aid, bug-out bags, and fire safety kits are prepped, located, and ready to go.

How to Recognize and Treat Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are muscle spasms, often in the abdomen, arms or calves, caused by a large loss of salt (electrolytes) and water in the body.

What to look for:

  • Heavy sweating during intense exercise
  • Muscle pain or spasms

What to do:

  • Stop physical activity and move the person to a cool place
  • Have the person drink water or a sports drink
  • Instruct the person to wait for cramps to go away before resuming physical activity
  • Get medical help right away if cramps last longer than 1 hour.

How to Recognize and Treat Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a severe heat-related illness requiring emergency medical treatment.

What to look for:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Brief fainting (passing out)

What to do:

  • Move the person to a cool place
  • Loosen their clothes
  • Put cool, wet cloths on their body, use misting and fanning, or help them take a cool bath
  • Have the person sip water

Get medical help right away if:

  • Vomiting occurs
  • Symptoms get worse
  • Symptoms last longer than 1 hour
  • Confusion develops

How to Recognize and Treat Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious medical condition caused by extreme heat. It requires immediate emergency treatment. It can result in death without immediate medical attention.

What to look for:

  • High body temperature (104°F or higher)
  • Hot, red, dry or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Losing consciousness (passing out)

What to do:

Call 911 right away — heat stroke is a medical emergency, then:

  1. Move the person to a cooler place
  2. Help lower the person’s temperature with a cool or cold bath, misting, fanning or applying cool cloths, if a bath is not available.
  3. Do not give the person anything to drink. (, 2022)
  4. If no medical help is coming, it’s time to learn how an intravenous drip works (IV).

“Always Be Ready” Max

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