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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