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Take precautions to prevent heat-related emergencies

Summertime is perfect for enjoying fun in the sun, but it’s also a time when we need to take precautions to avoid heat-related emergencies.

As part of an ongoing effort to educate residents in emergency preparedness, the City of Mission Viejo is offering detailed information through the Emergency Survival Program (ESP).  This guide features monthly topics, historical information and what you can do now to prepare. July’s focus is on heat-wave emergencies.

During an average summer, some 200 people across the country die due to heat injuries from exposure to high summer temperatures. Clearly, heat can be a force, particularly here in Southern California, where temperatures exceeding 100 degrees in the suburban valleys and 110 degrees in the low desert areas are not uncommon during the summer and fall.

Here are some tips for preventing heat injuries:

  • Avoid the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the burning rays are strongest.
  • Reduce physical activity.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and light colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothes when you’re outdoors. This type of clothing reflects heat and sunlight, which helps you maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Avoid sudden changes of temperatures (i.e., air out a hot car before getting into it).
  • Avoid hot, heavy meals that include proteins. They increase your metabolism and water loss and raise your body’s natural way of cooling.
  • Set your air conditioning thermostat between 75 and 80 degrees. If you don’t have an air conditioner, take a cool bath or shower and visit air-conditioned public spaces such as the Mission Viejo Library and Norman P. Murray Community Center during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you aren’t thirsty. Eight to 10 glasses of water a day are recommended. Drink even more if you are exercising or working in hot weather.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine since they are diuretics (i.e., promote water loss).
  • Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 if you need to go out in the sun.

For more in-depth information on this month’s topic and other preparedness information, visit the City’s emergency preparedness page.