Barely a week into the official start of Summer and the Pacific Northwest is experiencing record-breaking highs with temperatures in Oregon topping 108. Between record temperatures and planned outages for wildfire prevention, the west coast is vulnerable to utility outages and must prepare for them even during extreme heat.
Heat exhaustion is often overlooked but it’s a serious condition that claims lives every year. Because it’s not typical for these states to reach temperatures in the triple digits, we asked for heatwave safety tips from our Community of Preparedness Group to keep you and your family cool and safe this summer if the power goes out.
1. Keep Your Body Cool
The most recommended tip to keep cool without an air conditioner is to wet your shirts, towels, and blankets. Wrap a cool moist towel around your neck to help chill your whole body and limit your movement.
If you’re feeling especially overheated, fill your tub with cold water and take a dip.
Open your windows in the middle of the night to let the cooler air in. During the day, keep your windows sealed shut and close all blinds and curtains to keep the sun’s heat out of your home.
If you have power, plug in a box fan near where you will be sitting. A pro tip is to fill up a bucket with ice or dry ice and place it behind the fan so that even cooler air will blow out, some call this a ‘swamp cooler’.
If you find yourself without power, use a handheld fan. Either a paper fan like you would see in old photos of southern women at church or a battery operated fan will help in keeping your body temperature down and improve your general comfort level.
4. Stay Hydrated
The most important thing is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol that cause you to lose more body fluid. You may be tempted to load every glass with ice, but exceptionally cold drinks can cause stomach cramps in extreme heat. Try drinking a cool beverage to stay comfortable but not risk any negative side effects.
5. Power of Paint
If you have a covered patio or some kind of exterior wall that is in direct sunlight and are able to paint, paint it white. The white will reflect the sunlight instead of absorbing the heat and make the surface temperature significantly cooler and cause less heat absorption within the structure.
Similar to the winter storms we saw earlier this year in Texas, we ultimately take things like our utilities and services for granted as a defense against nature. That reliability is being undermined by increasingly devastating natural events. It’s important to be prepared for the loss of utilities and services, especially when you need them most.
Worried about power outages? We’ve got a checklist ‘ What to do when the power goes out’ and consider having things like a solar charger available to keep your critical communication live or a full power generator.
Looking for more tips as you prepare for heat waves, wildfires, earthquakes, or to be ready for anything? Join our Community of Preparedness on Facebook today!