It’s the height of summer, and many people are excited to be spending more time outdoors after COVID-related closures. But along with the fresh air and sunshine there is extreme heat that can be dangerous to your health.
As your Council schedules activities outdoors this summer, take the heat into account. It could mean the difference between a memorable outing and a medical emergency.
Help your Council members stay safe in the heat with these tips.
What to Know About Extreme Heat
Each year, extreme heat results in significantly more weather-related fatalities than extreme cold according to NOAA. Here’s what to remember:
- Temperatures can rise to extreme levels quickly and sometimes without warning.
- High humidity, measured with the heat index, makes it feel even hotter outside.
- Full sun exposure may feel up to 15º F hotter than the heat index, which is calibrated for breezy and shady conditions.
- Children, older adults and overweight individuals are at greater risk during hot weather.
The danger is highest during heat waves, when temperatures soar 10 degrees or more above average and combine with high humidity to last for days at a time. Weather forecasters have three categories to warn about potential heat waves:
- Excessive heat watch, meaning conditions are favorable for extreme heat to develop sometime in the next 3 days.
- Heat advisory, meaning meteorologists forecast local heat index values in the advisory range (for most areas, daytime highs of 100–105º F) for the next 1 to 2 days.
- Excessive heat warning, meaning meteorologists forecast local heat index values in the warning range (for most areas, daytime highs of 105–110º F) for at least 2 days.
How to Plan Summer Activities Safely
When planning activities for the Council, always take the potential for extreme heat risks into consideration:
- Check local weather forecasts for heat watches, advisories and warnings
- Pay attention to both temperature forecasts and heat index forecasts
- Remember events under full sun exposure may feel even hotter for attendees
- Plan for activities in the morning or evening where possible.
- Think about access to shade and places to cool off
- Discuss heat safety precautions with your staff and volunteer teams
- Restock your first aid kit and obtain portable kits if needed
- Be sure your event will include scheduled breaks to prevent overexertion
- Get your message out on how to participate safely if heat is anticipated
- Think about how mask rules and social distancing may impact heat related stress
How to Stay Safe in the Heat During an Outdoor Event
When the day of your Council event arrives, follow these tips:
- Check for National Weather Service updates
- Provide plenty of fluids to help attendees stay hydrated
- Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages which can cause dehydration
- Keep snacks light and avoid hot or filling meals
- Ensure children and pets aren’t left alone in hot cars
- Encourage attendees to wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing
- Schedule frequent breaks in a cool area indoors or in the shade
- Use the buddy system to ensure that no one is working alone in the heat
- Consider moving events indoors or rescheduling if there is a heat advisory or warning
- Follow local advisories concerning masks and social distancing. Take a break in a cool secluded area and remove your mask if you feel overheated
Stay alert for signs of these heat-related illnesses:
- Heat cramps, which can include muscle pain or spasms in the arms, legs or abdomen. Move to a cool location, remove excess clothing and take sips of sports drinks with salt and sugar. Seek medical attention if cramps persist more than an hour.
- Heat exhaustion, which can include heavy sweating, paleness, cramps, fatigue, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting. Seek shelter in an air-conditioned area. Loosen or remove excess clothing, take sips of cool drinks with salt and sugar. Seek medical attention if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.
- Heat stroke, which can include high body temperature, flushed skin, lack of sweating, rapid and strong pulse, confusion or unconsciousness. Call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room and try to cool the person down until help arrives.
Summer is a great time to enjoy the company of others at your Council. But make sure to stay safe in the heat. Stay alert about watches, advisories and warnings. Plan carefully, follow tips for staying safe and watch for signs of illness.
Make sure your Council is protected and prepared before your next event. Visit us online or contact Lockton Affinity by phone at (800) 496-0288.