How to Survive a Heat Wave?

As summer rolls around, the likelihood of seeing more heatwaves affecting the nation becomes higher.

If you live somewhere that already experiences higher temperatures than most, being prepared for the worst is a smart move.

How do you survive a heatwave?

Preparation is the key to surviving a heatwave, including having a backup plan for lost power, access to clean drinking water, and having an emergency disaster kit ready. Your house should also be prepared for extreme conditions with weather stripping, insulation, a home generator, and window coverings.

With more of a focus on the changing climate and the threat of rising temperatures in the future, being prepared now to tackle a heatwave is the smartest thing you can do. We’re here to help you get ready for hotter temperatures and ensure that you and your family are safe no matter the conditions outside.

The Recent Heatwaves of the World

heatwave at the fountain

The thought of living through a heatwave isn’t something that most people had to worry about in the past, but today, it’s a more likely threat.

According to the EPA, data analyzed from 1961 through to 2019 has shown that heat waves are significantly increasing in frequency, the average length of them, the number of days between them, and the highest temperature recorded.

During a heatwave, the air becomes trapped due to a high-pressure system that pushes it down, which means no rain. It also ensures that the warm air stays on the ground and has nowhere to escape, causing a dramatic rise in temperature until the system clears.

Although there’s no official definition of what constitutes a heatwave, it can be classified as a period when temperatures are above the usual average for the area you live in. This could be just for one day or last for a few, and you may notice a rise in the temperature of up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for this period.

Common Issues of Heatwaves

A heatwave is more than just a hot day, as it can lead to a range of other issues, including death and serious illness, so being prepared is a must.

During a heatwave, there are many serious side effects and consequences that can occur, including:

Ill health

Heatstroke and heat exhaustion

The most concerning side effect of a heatwave is its damage on our health, and when your body temperature rises to 103 Fahrenheit, you will likely develop heatstroke. Heatstroke and heat exhaustion can make you feel confused, quicken your pulse, lose consciousness, cause you to stop sweating, and even lead to death.

Blackouts

A blackout or energy disruption is common during a heatwave due to higher energy consumption and the strain that the heat puts on the system. Sometimes, the town may cut the energy supply in a planned power outage to reduce the risk of any further damage.

Water shortages

water drops on hands

With more water being used during a heatwave, there might be a chance of a water shortage in your town. In this type of serious situation, there may be a planned disruption to the water supply and you should receive a warning, but it can still catch some people by surprise.

The strain on emergency services

The higher rate of medical emergencies like people suffering heatstroke means emergency services will be strained. If you require medical assistance, there could be an extended wait time during a heatwave.

Tips for Being Prepared

cooling down with water hose

A heatwave is a natural disaster like any other and it requires thoughtful planning to make sure you’re prepared. Here are some simple tips to follow that ensure your household is reading for rising temperatures.

Know the weather

Staying up to date with weather forecasts so that you know when there’s a warning of a heatwave is essential, and the responsible thing to do. Those living in heatwave affected areas or with warmer summers will want to be ready for upcoming events and make sure their home is equipped ahead of time.

Have a survival kit

Whether you live somewhere that experiences heatwaves or not, every home should have a survival kit. In this kit, you’ll keep emergency supplies like food and water, first aid, filtration, sanitation, and shelter, in case you need to leave home suddenly and survive on your own. Pack extra supplies during winter to meet the additional needs of surviving in a heat wave, like more water and moisture-wicking clothes.

Stay hydrated

constant hydration

Aim to drink more water than usual during a heatwave but without overdoing it. The recommended intake of water per day is around eight 8oz glasses of water, and during summer, an extra two glasses. In a heatwave, you should have at least 10 8oz glasses of water to keep hydration up.

Prepare your house

If you live somewhere prone to heatwaves, your house should be prepared with weather stripping, insulation, and window treatments. Some preparation before summer starts will pay off significantly when it gets warmer. Many homes invest in a generator as well, due to potential issues with energy supply, and if you can afford one, it’s a smart buy for all kinds of natural disasters.

Know how to treat heatstroke

Take some time to learn what to do if someone develops heat stroke and how to treat them. With this condition, a person needs to be cooled down immediately in a cool bath and with cool cloths placed on them, but you should not give them any water or drinks. Call 911 and have them rest while they wait for emergency services to arrive.

Beating the Heat

prepare for heatwave

As heatwaves become more intense and more likely to occur, being prepared is the only defense we have against them. With some carefully planned supplies and a home that’s ready to protect itself from rising temperatures, you’ll be better equipped to beat the heat and survive with no negative effects.

Related Questions

A heatwave is just one of the more extreme weather conditions you need to be prepared for, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get your home ready. If you want to make sure you’re equipped for all types of weather, read on for some commonly asked questions about survival preparedness.

How Can You Prepare for a Flood?

If you live in an area that’s prone to flooding, your house should be built or upgraded to cater to these conditions. Make sure you elevate items like furnaces and electrical panels so they don’t come into contact with water, and reinforce your home if you live in or near a floodplain, as well as having an emergency survival kit ready.

What Should You Do Before a Snowstorm?

Preparing your home for a snowstorm should be done before winter, and includes jobs like insulating the walls and attic of the house, as well as installing storm windows. When a snowstorm has been forecast, remain indoors, have a carefully packed survival kit, and have salt ready for de-icing.

How Much Water Do You Need in the Heat?

To avoid heat stress during higher-than-normal temperatures, you should aim to drink a cup of water every 20 minutes when working, with the preference being to take smaller sips rather than large amounts. However, never drink more than 48 oz of water per hour, as it can be damaging to your health.

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