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Before a Heat Advisory

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Pay attention and be prepared to respond to official warnings about extreme heat in your area:

  • If you have air-conditioning make sure it works properly. It’s best to have it checked every year before the weather gets hot.
  • If air conditioning is not possible, have at least one or more fans on hand to help sweat evaporate and cool your body.
  • Keep in mind that while electric fans may provide comfort, they will not necessarily prevent heat-related illness during periods of extreme heat.
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80%.
  • Prepare temporary window reflectors between windows and drapes, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
  • If you have a chronic medical condition, consult with your primary-care provider and pharmacist to learn how your body is likely to respond to excessive heat and to the sorts and quantities of fluids you are apt to drink.
  • Be prepared for first aid treatments of heat-induced illnesses.

Heat Terms

  • Heat Index or “Apparent Temperature” – An estimate of the temperature that the body feels when the effects of heat and humidity are combined. Note that exposure to direct sunlight can increase the heat index by as much as 15° Fahrenheit.
  • Excessive Heat Outlook – A heat wave may develop in the next 3 to 7 days.
  • Excessive Heat Watch – Conditions are favorable for a heat wave (high Heat Index) in the next 12 to 48 hours.
  • Heat Advisory – An uncomfortable, potentially dangerous heat wave (daytime highs = 100-105° F) is forecast within the next 36 hours.
  • Excessive Heat Warning – A dangerous heat wave (daytime highs = 105-110° F) is forecast within the next 36 hours.

For more information on heat advisories, see: