Heatwave Preparedness

Climate change has us headed for an overall global temperature increase. Hotter summers are bringing deadly temps to new places. Being prepared can lower your family’s risk of injury, death, or loss of property on those hotter-than-hot days.

Heatwave icon
Sun and desert landscape

Heatwave Facts

Heat waves cause more deaths in the United States than all other weather-related disasters. You can’t outrun the heat.

Hot weather is only a heat wave if the temperatures are above historical averages for the area. In other words, a week of 100°F temperatures might be considered a heat wave in Maine, but in Nevada, it’s the norm! 

How do they work? High pressure weather systems force hot air downward and trap it, creating an “oven” effect. Temperatures rise as the sun continues to warm the trapped air.

You can expect to see power failures, crop damage, and people with heat stroke.

How to Prepare for a Heatwave

  • Create a heatwave preparedness kit or purchase a prepackaged kit. Either way, make sure to maintain it so you’re ready for those power failures.
  • Carry water, sunscreen, and a hat with you if you’re outdoors in warm weather.
  • Insulate your house and install double paned windows to stay cooler longer with less energy. Bonus: you’ll stay cool longer when the power goes out.
  • Keep your thermostat set to 78°F to keep cool without overburdening the power grid.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes and stay hydrated. Limit outdoor activity during peak temps.
  • Keep your pets indoors with free access to water during hot weather; they’re at risk for heat illness as well.
  • Check on your neighbors and invite them to your home or offer rides to a local cooling station if they’re unable to keep their home cool. Elderly people are especially at risk for heat illness.
Disaster Plan icon
important info icon

What Not to Do During a Heatwave

Here are some hot weather tips for you, if you’re better with “DON’Ts” than “DOs”

Don’t Leave Kids in the Car

Take your kids and pets with you. Even on a 70°F day, the inside of a car can reach 115°F! Since 1998, over 900 children have died in hot cars in the US.

Don’t Ignore Symptoms

Heat stroke is more than feeling a little hot. If anyone is confused, slurring speech, fainting, or feeling very hot to the touch, call 911.

Don’t Forget Your Stay Bag

Power outages are extremely likely in heat waves, whether they’re planned or due to grid failure. Keep that home emergency kit stocked and ready.