The heat index is a measurement that combines the effects of heat and humidity. It tells how hot it really feels when the effects of humidity are added to high temperatures. When heat and humidity combine to reduce the amount of evaporation of sweat from the body, outdoor exercise becomes dangerous even for those in good shape.
In the District, the Heat Emergency Plan is activated when the heat index reaches 95 degrees.
In the event of extreme heat, you should take the following precautions:
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- Turn on the air-conditioner or fan.
- DO NOT leave children or pets in vehicles.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Wear light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothes.
- Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside. SPF 15-30 is best.
- Limit exposure to the sun, especially between 10 AM and 3 PM when it is strongest
- Watch for symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
- Visit one of the District's "Cooling Centers" located throughout the city, if you do not have access to a cool-temperature location. For more information and Cooling Center locations, visit heat.dc.gov.
For information about water for the homeless, contact United Planning Organization at (202) 399-7093.