Heat Wave Safety
What is a heat wave?
- The National Weather Service defines a heat wave for Northeastern Pennsylvania as three or more days in which the temperature reaches at least 90 degrees F.
- Intense heat can be extremely dangerous, particularly for young children, the elderly, and people with health problems.
- According to the National Weather Service, a heat warning is issued when life-threatening heat is occurring or is forecast. A heat advisory means high and potentially dangerous values of heat are occurring or highly likely. A heat watch means excessive heat is possible in the next day or two.
To avoid heat stress during a heat wave:
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a hat or cap, keeping your neck covered. Apply sunscreen to exposed areas.
- Stay indoors, if possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sun.
- Remember: Electric fans don’t cool the air, but they will cool the body by helping sweat evaporate.
- If possible, work or play in the cool hours of the day.
- Stay out of direct sun for long periods.
- Drink extra fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Slow down and avoid strenuous activity.
- Take regular breaks from activity.
To treat cramping or heat exhaustion/stroke:
- For cramping, stop all activity and sit quietly in a cool place. Drink clear juice or a diluted sports beverage.
- For heat exhaustion, apply cool compresses and move the person to a cool location, preferably in an air-conditioned environment.
- For heat stroke, a life threatening situation, move to a cool location, apply cool, wet compresses and seek medical help immediately (call 9-1-1).
Signs of heat emergencies:
- Heat exhaustion: Cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache, nausea or vomiting; dizziness and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal.
- Heat stroke: Hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature may be as high as 105 degrees F. If person was sweating from heavy work or exercise, the skin may feel wet; otherwise it will feel dry.
Assistance is available
- If your electricity has been shut off, or you need help paying your bill, contact UGI Electric at (800) 276-2722
- Information on programs available to help with electric costs are available here or on the PA Public Utility Commission Website
- For heat-related emergencies, call 9-1-1