OEMC Issues Hot Weather Preparedness Tips
June 8, 2012
Chicago temperatures forecasted to rise to 90 degrees this weekend
OEMC News Affairs
CHICAGO – As summer season arrives in Chicago, officials from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), Chicago Department of Public Health and other City departments joined sister agencies, the National Weather Service and public utilities to provide summer weather preparedness information and caution residents to avoid heat-related emergencies due to high temperatures.
“Heat can have a serious effect on one’s health. Each summer the City of Chicago continues to advise the public of the dangers of extreme hot temperatures and its’ impact on our families, pets, lifestyle and activities. Taking the necessary precautions can prevent heat-related emergencies and lead to a summer filled with fun and activities”, said Gary W. Schenkel, OEMC Executive Director.
With hot temperatures expected for the upcoming weekend, OEMC reminds the public to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related conditions such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Chicagoans and visitors to Chicago should stay informed about weather-related conditions and know what to do and where to go to get relief from hot temperatures. Further, everyone should learn the symptoms of heat-related illness, including “heat exhaustion” and “heat stroke”; when to seek medical treatment; and simple treatments to reduce body temperature.
“Heat exhaustion” is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. “Heat stroke” is more serious, and occurs when the body starts to lose its ability to regulate itself. The telltale signs of heat stroke are:
- An extremely high body temperature, such as 103 degrees or above.
- Dizziness and nausea.
- A throbbing headache and a pulse that is rapid and strong.
- Skin that is red, hot and dry.
If you see someone suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, take immediate action. Call 911 immediately and then try to move the person into a cool place and cool the person with water.
OEMC Weather Press Conference
Steps can be taken to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:
- Drink plenty of water, at least eight glasses a day to avoid dehydration;
- Ensure that children stay well hydrated;
- Visit one of the City’s temporary cooling centers: Chicago police district headquarters; all 79 Chicago Public Library locations during public hours of operation; and other public buildings;
- Call 3-1-1 for the nearest City Cooling Center located within the six Community Service Centers operated by the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). The centers are open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.
- Contact local Chicago Park District facility to find out about beach and park hours and programs.
- Sign up for extreme weather alerts by visiting www.AlertChicago.com and clicking on the Notify Chicago button.
City officials further urged Chicagoans to be good neighbors and check on the disabled and elderly who may not understand the effects of extreme heat, or call 3-1-1 to request well-being checks and rides to cooling centers. The City’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) will use their home care services, such as Home Delivered Meals and Case Management, to check on seniors and inquire about their well-being. DFSS has also notified its Well-Being Task Force which includes nearly 70 public agencies and private businesses to be on alert during this dangerous weather and report any senior or vulnerable person who is at risk from the heat.
“We must all do our part to ensure the safety of our children over this summer break. Enforcement of curfew violations will be a priority in every police district, because nothing good can come of children being out at night,” said First Deputy Superintendent Alfonza Wysinger.
Beaches and public parks and pools make excellent places to cool off, but open fire hydrants do not.
“Playing in the shooting water of an open hydrant is not a way to stay cool, said Jose Santiago, Commissioner, Chicago Fire Department. “Children are not thinking about safety, and they often cannot hear approaching cars. In years past, we have seen young people injured or killed as a result of being hit by motorists who did not know they were in the spray,” said Jose Santiago Commissioner Chicago Fire Department.
Additional resources are available through ComEd. For assistance paying household utility bills, residents are reminded to contact Com Ed at call 888-806-CARE. To hold down energy costs, residents should consider the following:
- Use energy efficient air conditioning units.
- Regularly clean and/or replace filters for air conditioning units.
- Close shades during daytime hours to make your home cooler (open shades during evening hours).
- Use ceiling fans whenever possible (if using ceiling fans, it’s not necessary to set your air conditioner so low).
- Keep your home at 78 degrees in the summer, or at the warmest temperature that is comfortable for you.
- When leaving home for more than four hours, raise the thermostat five to 10 degrees in summer. Do the same at night before going to bed.
- Close south-, east-, and west-facing curtains during the day to keep out solar heat during the summer.
- Plant trees around your home (can reduce air temperature 3-6 degrees).
- Plant shrubs on the side of your house to reduce wall temperatures.
OEMC Weather Press Conference
“Since last year’s severe storms, we have intensified work to strengthen our system, improve restoration times and better communicate with customers,” said Mike Guerra, vice president of External Affairs and Large Customer Solutions. “Investments we have made in our electric system will mean reliability improvements going forward.”
Pets are a part of the family. Their safety and comfort during extreme weather conditions should be included in all family emergency preparedness plans. Pet owners are reminded to make a plan for when they are away from home for extended hours during extreme weather conditions to make sure that their pets have the proper resources.
Pet Summer Safety Tips for Extreme Heat:
- Water - Give your pets plenty of fresh, clean water. Animals can get dehydrated very quickly especially in the heat.
- Shade – Make sure your pet has a place to go to get out of the sun. Try to keep them indoors during extreme heat.
- Rest – Do not over-exercise your animal in the heat. On a sweltering day, the best time to exercise your pet is in the early morning or late evening.
- Watch - Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. In extreme heat, the temperature can rise in your vehicle very quickly, even if the windows are cracked open. This can leave your pet vulnerable to heat stroke, which can onset very quickly.
The OEMC will continue to work closely with the National Weather Service to monitor weather conditions in Chicago. At this time, OEMC has not activated the City’s Extreme Weather Operations Plan or opened the Emergency Operations Center, but both will be activated if it becomes necessary.
The public can also obtain more information about extreme weather preparedness by visiting www.alertchicago.org. OEMC encourages the public to sign up to receive weather alert notifications via text, voicemail or email at www.notifychicago.org. Notify Chicago a free service provided by the City of Chicago and administered by the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
The Chicago Office of Emergency Management was established in 1995 to coordinate the City’s delivery of Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services resources. OEMC operates Chicago’s public safety communications system, managing emergency situations and coordinating major events, 311 and 911 Communications Operations. For more information visit our website atwww.cityofchicago.org/oemc or “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/coemc.