Heat Island Effect
Excessive Heat Events Guidebook in Brief
Quick Tips for Responding to Excessive Heat Events
For the Public
- Use air conditioners or spend time in air-conditioned locations such as malls and libraries
- Use portable electric fans to exhaust hot air from rooms or draw in cooler air
- Take a cool bath or shower
- Minimize direct exposure to the sun
- Stay hydrated regularly drink water or other nonalcoholic fluids
- Eat light, cool, easy-to-digest foods such as fruit or salads
- Wear loose fitting, light-colored clothes
- Check on older, sick, or frail people who may need help responding to the heat
- Know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses.
- Direct the flow of portable electric fans toward yourself when room temperature is hotter than 90°f
- Leave children and pets alone in cars for any amount of time
- Drink alcohol to try to stay cool
- Eat heavy, hot, or hard-to-digest foods
- Wear heavy, dark clothing.
Useful Community Interventions
For Public Officials
Send a clear public message
- Communicate that EHEs are dangerous and conditions can be life-threatening. In the event of conflicting environmental safety recommendations, emphasize that health protection should be the first priority.
Inform the public of anticipated EHE conditions
- When will EHE conditions be dangerous?
- How long will EHE conditions last?
- How hot will it FEEL at specific times during the
day (e.g., 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 4 p.m., 8 p.m.)?
Assist those at greatest risk
- Assess locations with vulnerable populations,
such as nursing homes and public housing
- Staff additional emergency medical personnel to
address the anticipated increase in demand
- Shift/expand homeless intervention services to
cover daytime hours
- Open cooling centers to offer relief for people
without air conditioning and urge the public to use
Provide access to additional sources of information
- Provide toll-free numbers and Web site addresses
for heat exposure symptoms and responses
- Open hotlines to report concerns about
individuals who may be at risk
- Coordinate broadcasts of EHE response information in newspapers and on television and radio.