At the end of this week, meteorologists are predicting that we are heading for a week’s long heatwave, so now is the time to read up on how to best prepare you, your home, your pets and your car.
For those of us along the shore, we will see cooler temperatures (but still hot and humid), but an increase in traffic and population as those that live inland seek the relief of our beaches. So we will need to be patient and plan accordingly.
- Stay inside during the hottest part of the day, generally 12p to 4p.
- Wear a hat, light-colored and lightweight clothing.
- Stay in the shade as often as possible, or use an umbrella when outside.
- Always have water with you and drink plenty of it. Humans cool by sweating and increased heat will lead to increased sweating and a very real possibility of becoming dehydrated, quickly.
- Keep your blinds/drapes closed during the day to keep the sun out of your home/office.
- Open the windows during the coolest times of the day (night/early morning) to flush out the hot air.
- Check your HVAC air filters, etc. NOW and replace if needed. Clean out the filters on your air conditioners and vacuum those fans!
- Be prepared for brown-outs or power outages as the increased use of airconditioning can severely tax local power grids. Make sure your emergency kits are ready.
- If you do not have air conditioning at home, plan to visit your local libraries, malls, movie theaters, etc.
- Be sure to check on your neighbors, especially if they are elderly or in ill health.
- Keep fresh water available for your pets and make sure that they are not left outside with no shelter during the day. Our cats will be spending a lot of time in the relative cool of our basement!
- Prepare meals in advance or stock up on supplies so you can grill, thus avoiding the heat of cooking indoors.
- If you must work outdoors, make sure you are not alone, take frequent breaks, drink more water than you think you need and take your time.
- NEVER LEAVE PETS OR CHILDREN IN AN ENCLOSED CAR!
- Heatwaves may drive you to the beach or pool, please remember to load up on sunscreen!
- Learn to recognize and treat heat-related emergencies. The Red Cross has an excellent webpage that defines and gives treatment options for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
- Give your car a little check up too. Make sure that all the fluids are at appropriate levels, especially the anti-freeze. When we run our a/c in our cars, our engines burn hotter and this can lead to overheating if the antifreeze is low. Also, give the belts and hoses a look and replace any that are cracked or blistering. Check your tires too as underinflated tires increase your chances of a blow-out due to the heat of the roads. If you find yourself stuck in traffic and your temperature gauge climbs over the halfway mark, experts recommend pulling over and turning off the engine to allow it too cool before hitting the road again.
If you will be seeking the relief of our shores, remember that thousands will have the same idea as you and the earlier you begin your trek, the less likely you will be stuck in traffic and run the risk that the parking lots fill up!
Remember that the heatwave will not last forever, it will just seem like an eternity when we are in the midst of the suffering. Be safe, stay hydrated and look out for your friends and neighbors.