How To – Staying Cool in a Heat or Power Outage Emergency

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    Summer storms and other events can knock out power to your home during the hottest days of the year. In the Washington DC area this summer about 800,000 homes saw loss of power for days to weeks and every summer dozens of people die an many more end up in hospital emergency rooms.

    The hardest hit are the elderly and young. Having people close to me that are both it is very true that people in these groups do not realize just how overheated they are until it is too late.

    Even if you do not end up severely sick from sun stroke too much heat can make you feel moderately ill and reduce your ability to care for yourself and others.

    For this reason it is important that you understand how to take care of yourself during the hottest days of the year even if the power goes out.


    Things You can do to Keep Cool if the Power Goes Out

    It is important that you monitor the temperature in your home and your wall thermostat may not be available if the power goes out. If you have a thermometer in your refrigerator that may help for a period of time.

    If you begin to feel ill, begin to faint or vomit you should contact friends, family or 911 for help.

    If you have a pool then spend the day in the pool cooling off.. or visit a neighbor with a pool or a local pool that may still be open.

    This is not a day to sunbath .. keep in the shade and conserve your energy by not getting too active and hit the pool if you can.

    Close your blinds to reduce heat gain from the sun.

    If the temperature in your home is higher then the outside open your windows to get cross ventilation. If the power just went off it may still be cooler inside then outside.

    If you have a basement you can expect it to be about 15 degrees cooler and your basement floor should be cool.

    Dress very lightly… wear shorts and no socks or shoes.. a light shirt and no hats or caps inside.

    Dampen a bath towel and place it on your bare back / stomach once the towel sucks out some of your internal heat and gets warm dampen it again… also fanning the towel while it is wet will cool it… this is true for a baseball cap too if you take it off and dampen it then fan it in the air by waving your arm the cap will get cool.. do this also if you are outside and sweating.

    If your car has air conditioning park it in the shade and cool off for a few minutes if you can.

    Driving to your local library, mall or even school is another option if your school has been setup as a cool off zone and they have generators… Hospitals will have generators as a last resort.

    As a final last resort you may want to abandon your area and drive to a location outside of the power outage zone.

    You can look for a hotel if it is later in the day or go to a library or store to cool off.


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