Extreme temperatures of heat and cold can have dangerious affects not just on the elderly and the young, but also on anyone who does not take precaution to stay safe during these extreme temperature changes.
Hot Weather Tips
When the county's Department of Health issues a heat advisory, many senior centers serve as cooling centers for Westchester seniors. (Call the site before going to confirm it is open.) The Health Department provides additional tips about staying safe in the sun.
Temperatures that hover 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for the region and last for several weeks are defined as extreme heat. Humid or muggy conditions, which add to the discomfort of high temperatures, occur when a “dome” of high atmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air near the ground. Droughts occur when a long period passes without substantial rainfall. A heat wave combined with a drought is a very dangerous situation.
- Stay out of the sun — avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors reflect some of the sun’s energy.
- Drink fluids-particularly water-even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. (Those on fluid-restricted diets or taking diuretics should first consult their physician.)
- Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid beverages containing alcohol and/or caffeine.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun’s peak hours (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
- If possible, go to an air-conditioned building for several hours during the hottest parts of the day. Participate in activities that will keep you cool, such as going to the movies, shopping at a mall, or swimming at a pool or beach.
- Never leave your children or pets unattended in the car.
- Check on your elderly neighbors, and those with special needs.
- Remember: Improperly opened hydrants waste thousands gallons of water and can lower water pressure to dangerous levels, thus hampering the Fire Department’s ability to fight fires and endangering the lives of your family and neighbors.
During periods of high temperatures, residents are asked to reduce power usage by turning off all non-essential appliances and electronic equipment. This will help manage the county's electric use. Westchester residents should follow these tips to minimize energy consumption during a heat emergency:
- Do not leave air conditioners on when you leave your house.
- Set your air conditioner thermostat at no less than 78 degrees.
- Only use appliances that have heavy electrical loads early in the morning or very late at night.