Preparing the Family for a Heat Wave

Unless you’re the kind of family that goes on impromptu vacations of indeterminate length, you’re not likely to escape a heat wave. Make sure your household members–especially children and elders–know what to do when those record-breaking temperatures bring the pain. Bad weather means bad attitudes, but laying the groundwork can help keep everyone in the family on the same page once it’s time to spring into action.

Educate the Kids

As always, education is the name of the game for helping kids handle emergencies. They’re probably familiar with the summer heat already, so take this time to explain what makes a heat wave different from a normal summer day and why it’s important to limit outdoor time.

  • Talk about hydration and water intake. Make sure they get enough liquids throughout the day and encourage water breaks.
  • Make sure they’re dressed in loose-fitting clothing and always have sun protection in the form of sunglasses and hats.
  • Discuss the need to limit outdoor activities during the hottest part of the days, though warm nights can be the perfect time for games!
    • Babies and toddlers need more supervision in times of high temperatures–keep a close eye on them both indoors and outdoors.
  • Be sure they’ve applied adequate sunblock before they leave the house.

Plan for Your Pets

pet monkey that wants to survive the heat wave
Marcel will become VERY upset if you don’t consider his heat wave needs.

Your pets are people, too! Make sure your family is aware that outside time for dogs and cats should be limited during heat waves. Monitor their temperature, and offer cooling mats if they are too warm. Keep a supply of extra food and water on hand, just as you do for yourself.

Note: If you have pets that live in terraria, aquaria, or other habitats that require electricity, be prepared for the chance that the power may go out and plan accordingly. Your local pet store or vet can give you some great tips on how to protect a reptile or other heat-sensitive pet during a power outage.


If your power goes out, you can put a little harness on your heatlamp-loving lizard and take it to the streets for the real thing!

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Katherine Esperanza is a Los Angeles based writer. When she's not conjuring new queer slice-of-life short stories, she's busy watching the newest films, out at queer shows, supporting queer artists, or just checking out the queer community as a whole.

A former international non-profiteer, small business owner, and co-op'er, Katherine is delighted to help introduce more leftist politics into the disaster preparedness/prepper sphere, which is currently far too right-wing.