(WASHINGTON, DC) – The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for the Washington, DC area beginning today, Friday, June 29, 2012 from 11AM to 9PM. Heat Index values are forecast to meet or exceed 108 degrees and these temperatures are expected to last at least throughout the weekend. In response to this rare, Excessive Heat Warning issued by NWS, the District of Columbia activated its multi-agency 2012 Heat Emergency Plan which goes into effect whenever the heat index reaches 95 degrees and above.
The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create dangerous situations which can result in heat related illnesses. Residents and visitors are encouraged to find cooling locations near them. D.C. Recreation Centers, D.C. Public Libraries and D.C. Senior Wellness Centers as well as the many museums located throughout the city are all great places to beat the heat and are open to the public. Many of these locations provide not only a cool place to rest, but also provide water fountains and indoor activities.
D.C. Water and D.C. Fire and EMS officials want to remind the public that unauthorized fire- hydrant use is unlawful, dangerous and damaging.In addition to the Heat Advisory, with the air-quality forecast as Code Orange for today, it is recommended that those with lung disease, asthma, small children and the elderly stay inside if at all possible to avoid unhealthy outdoor air.
Residents should know the difference between an advisory and a warning. An excessive-heat advisory issued by the National Weather Service means that extreme heat is likely. An excessive-heat warning means that extreme heat is likely and can pose a threat to life if proper precautions are not taken.
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.
- Pay special attention to young children, the elderly and the mentally ill.
- 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 (the sun is most powerful between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.).
- Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
- If you do not have access to a cool-temperature location, visit one of the District’s cooled indoor facilities referred to above.
Residents should also be reminded that these hot and humid conditions can cause many medical problems, such as heat stroke and exhaustion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consider heat stroke to be the most serious heat-related illness. According to CDC, “heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.”
Symptoms of heat stroke:
- Hot, dry skin (no sweating)
- High body temperature
- Slurred speech
Groups at greatest risk for heat-related illness:
People 65 years of age and older
- Children up to four years of age
- People 65 years of age and older
- People who are overweight
- People who are ill or on certain medications.
For information about water for the homeless, contact United Planning Organization at 202.399.7093. For additional information, call the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311.