Summer Heat Resources

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Be Prepared for Hot Weather in California and Beat the Heat

The seasons are changing and the temperatures are going up. It's that time of year to once again start considering the effects of warmer temperatures and take appropriate precautions to protect your health and safety.

Each year approximately 20 people die from heat-related emergencies. In 2006 a severe heatwave resulted in 655 deaths and over 16,000 excess emergency room visits throughout the state.​

See current Watches, Warnings or Advisories from the National Weather Service.

​Keeping Cool: How Cal OES Helps during a Heat Emergency


The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services Heat Contingency Plan (pdf download) describes state operations during heat related emergencies and provides guidance for state agencies, local governments, and non-governmental organizations in the preparation of their heat emergency response plans and other related activities. However, there are many things you can and should do to protect yourself from heat emergencies.

​Tips to Prevent Heat Related Illness         

Beat the Heat graphic describing how best to stay cool in extreme heat

  • ​Drink fruit juice or a sports beverage to replace salts and minerals lost during heavy sweating. (If a client/resident is on a low-sodium diet, check with his/her physician first.)
  • During the hottest parts of the day, keep physical activities to a minimum and stay indoors in air-conditioning and out of the sun.
  • Use fans as needed.
  • ​Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate when appropriate.
  • Use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths.
  • Avoid hot foods and heavy meals—they add heat to the body.
  • Eat frozen treats.


​Heat Stroke

Heat stroke—which occurs when the body can’t control its temperature—may result in disability or death if emergency treatment is not given. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses a large amount of water and salt contained in sweat. For even more resources check out the Center for Disease Control's webiste on heat stress here! Warning signs of heat stroke vary, but may include:

  • ​An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, orally)

  • Unconsciousness

  • ​Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • ​Dizziness, nausea and confusion

  • Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)

​Heat Exhaustion

Check out the Mayo Clinic's website for a basic definition and more resources on heat exhaustion. Warning signs of heat exhaustion vary, but may include:

  • ​Heavy sweating

  • Muscle cramps

  • Conufusion

  • ​Nausea or vomiting
  • Paleness, tiredness, dizziness
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • ​Weakness

  • Headache

  • Muscle or abdominal cramps
  • Rapid heartbeat

​What To Do

If you see any of these signs for heat stroke or heat exhaustion, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency and should do the following:
Have someone call 911 while you begin cooling the victim.

  • Get the victim to a shady area.

  • Cool the victim rapidly with a cool bath or shower, or by sponging with cool water, until body temperature drops to 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit, orally.

  • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.

  • Do not give the victim alcohol to drink.

  • Again, get medical assistance as soon as possible.

If a victim’s muscles twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke, keep the victim from injuring him/herself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his/her side.

​Tips for Specific Groups

To better understand how to beat the heat and stay cool in extreme weather, please take a look at the information that the CDC has for those especially vulnerable to heat exhaustion and stroke.

​Don't Forget Your Pets!

Pic of Bassetthound

Animals, particularly those that spend time outdoors, are vulnerable to the heat as well. Check out the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website for important tips on keeping your pets protected from heat and other emergencies.

Heat Safety for Pets Graphic

​CalISO Power Status

Find answers to questions about the power grid and the role the California ISO performs as the impartial link between power plants and the utilities that provide electricity to 30 million Californians.


A Flex Alert is issued by Cal ISO when the electricity grid is under stress because of generation or transmission outages, or from persistent hot temperatures. The ISO has called on all available resources to be available to serve demand, however conservation is needed to reduce the risk of further emergency measures including rotating power outages. Consumers are urged to conserve electricity especially during the afternoon when air conditioners typically are at peak use, as well as turn off all unnecessary lights, use major appliances before peak use and set air conditioners to 78 degrees or higher to avoid any interruptions.


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