Typical Prepping

Surviving Extreme Heat

June 22, 2021 Keith Thomas Season 1 Episode 17
Typical Prepping
Surviving Extreme Heat
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In This Episode:

Heat is the number one weather-related killer. Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.

Most heat disorders occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or has over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Older adults, young children, and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to succumb to extreme heat. In this episode, we’ll explore some ways that you can protect yourself and your family from extreme heat, and how to recognize the signs of the most common heat-related illnesses.


Key Topics:

  • What is extreme heat?
  • Make A Plan
  • Staying safe during extreme heat
  • Recognize and respond to heat-related illness
  • Heat Cramps
  • Heat Exhaustion
  • Heatstroke
  • Conclusion

    

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Surviving Extreme Heat



Welcome to Typical Prepping. The podcast for those who would like to start their own disaster preparedness plan, or those who have gotten started, but are not quite sure where or how to take the next steps.

Each week I'll present a disaster preparedness topic with actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to start or grow your personal disaster preparations. Thanks for stopping by to listen today.


Hi, I’m Keith, and welcome to Typical Prepping!

Heat is the number one weather-related killer. Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.


Most heat disorders occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or has over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Older adults, young children, and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to succumb to extreme heat. In this episode, we’ll explore some ways that you can protect yourself and your family from extreme heat, and how to recognize the signs of the most common heat-related illnesses.




What is Extreme Heat?

Extreme heat is a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for at least two to three days. In extreme heat, your body works extra hard to maintain a normal temperature, which can lead to death. In fact, extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards.





 IF YOU ARE UNDER AN EXTREME HEAT WARNING:


Find air conditioning.


Avoid strenuous activities.


Wear light clothing.


Check on family members and neighbors.


Drink plenty of fluids.


Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.


Never leave people or pets in a closed car.



How to prepare for Extreme Heat


Make A Plan

When preparing for any disaster the first thing we should have is a plan. Your plan should include shelter and evacuation plans, as well as your family emergency communication plan, copies or originals of important documents as outlined in the financial disaster plan, and an emergency kit either for the entire family or individual kits for each family member. If you haven’t made a plan, check out our past episodes on creating a family emergency communication plan, financial disaster planning, and the basic emergency supplies kit, I’ll leave links to these episodes in the show notes for you, and be sure to check out the free pdf files we have available to help create your emergency plan.

   Your plan can also include emergency supplies or directions for specific emergencies.



Find places in your community where you can go to get cool.


Try to keep your home cool:


Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.  

Cover windows with drapes or shades.

Weather-strip doors and windows.

Use window reflectors such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard to reflect heat back outside.

Add insulation to keep the heat out.

Use a powered attic ventilator, or attic fan, to regulate a building’s attic heat level by clearing hot air.

Install window air conditioners and insulate around them.

Learn to recognize the signs of heat illness. 



Be Safe DURING Extreme Heat


Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day. 

Find places with air conditioning.

 Libraries, shopping malls, and community centers can be a cool places to beat the heat.

 Stay informed and check with local authorities about possible closures before going to cooling centers.

Take cool showers or baths.

Don’t rely solely on fans to keep you cool. While electric fans might provide some comfort, they won’t prevent heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort but do not reduce body temperature.

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


If you’re outside, find shade. 

Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. If you or someone you care for is on a special diet, ask a doctor what would be best. 

Keep in mind that not everyone can afford to stock up on supplies, such as sports drinks, cleaning supplies, and non-perishable foods. If you can, slowly buy supplies in advance so that you don’t have to go to the store as often. 

Being prepared allows you to avoid unnecessary excursions and to address minor medical issues at home, alleviating the burden on urgent care centers and hospitals.

Remember that not everyone can afford to respond by stocking up on necessities.

Avoid high-energy activities outdoors. Avoid working outdoors during the midday heat, if possible.

Check yourself, family members, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness.



Recognize and Respond to Heat-Related Illness


Know the signs of heat-related illnesses and ways to respond. At-risk populations for heat-related illness include older individuals and those with underlying health conditions. Know how to protect individuals especially those at risk from extreme heat events.


If you are sick and need medical attention, contact your healthcare provider for advice and shelter in place, if you can. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1. If you are at a shelter or public facility, alert shelter staff right away so they can call a local hospital or clinic.



HEAT CRAMPS

Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms – usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs – that may occur in association with strenuous activity. People who sweat a lot during strenuous activity are prone to heat cramps. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion. If you have heart problems or are on a low-sodium diet, seek medical attention for heat cramps.


Signs: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs

Actions: Go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. If you are sick and need medical attention, call your healthcare provider first. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about whether you should go to the hospital or cooler location yourself. If cramps last more than an hour, seek medical attention. If possible, put on a mask before medical help arrives.



HEAT EXHAUSTION

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, those with high blood pressure, and those working or exercising in a hot environment.


Signs: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea, vomiting

Actions: Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Call your healthcare provider if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.



HEATSTROKE

Heatstroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heatstroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.


Signs:

Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) taken orally 

Red, hot and dry skin with no sweat

Rapid, strong pulse

Dizziness, confusion, or unconsciousness

Actions: Call 9-1-1 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.


 I highly recommend is that you contact your local CPR Center or American Red Cross to sign up for a CPR and first aid class. This training is not only beneficial for extreme heat emergencies but could be the difference between life and death in the event of any number of disasters common to your area.



Conclusion

Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. Despite this fact, more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year. In this episode, we have provided you with some helpful tips, information, and resources to help you stay safe in the extreme heat this summer.


Remember;

  • Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.
  • Older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.
  • Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index
  • Make a Plan
  • Learn ways to stay safe during extreme heat
  • Learn how to recognize and respond to heat-related illness



Well, folks that's going to do it for this episode please join me next week for another preparedness topic, and until then stay safe and be prepared! 



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 Until next time, stay safe and be prepared!



Introduction
What is extreme heat?
Make A Plan
Staying safe during extreme heat
Recognize and respond to heat-related illness
Heat Cramps
Heat Exhaustion
Heatstroke
Conclusion