Stay Safe in Hot Weather

Extreme heat can cause severe illness and death.  Hundreds of people in the United States die each year from extreme heat.  Most heat-related deaths occur in people's homes, but they can also occur in vehicles.  The information below and in our brochure can help you and your loved ones stay safe in hot weather.


Preventing Heat-Related Illness

Check out the Information from the National Weather Service - Heat Awareness Day

What is Heat-Related Illness?

Understanding Weather Updates


Additional Resources (links)

Contact Us

Stay Safe in the H-E-A-T


  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid drinks with alcohol, caffeine or lots of sugar


  • Be aware that people 65 years of age and older, infants, children and people with chronic medical conditions are at highest risk of heat-related illness or death
  • Learn the warning signs of heat-related illness
  • Know that some medications make it harder for your body to control its temperature (including some antihistamines, psychiatric drugs and over-the-counter sleeping pills). Consult with a health professional to find out if medications you take regularly may put you at higher risk for heat-related illness.
  • Remember that air conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness or death
  • Know that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rise to deadly levels in a very short amount of time. NEVER leave a child (or pet) alone in a vehicle - especially during warm weather.  If you see a child unattended in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.
  • Sign up for our Emergency Information Email Group

Act Quickly

  • Seek medical attention if you (or someone you know) is experiencing heat-related illnesshot sun
  • Listen to local radio stations for weather updates:
    1. WEMU 89.1 FM
    2. WWWW 102.9 FM
    3. WQKL 107.1 FM
    4. WTKA 1050 AM
    5. WLBY 1290 AM     
  • Call 211 for referrals or translation.
  • Locate a cool, indoor place with air conditioning like a shopping mall, library or public cooling center. Cooling centers are air conditioned buildings open to the public during heat emergencies. 

Take it easy

  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Avoid outdoor activities
  • Go somewhere cooler, even for a short period

Heat-Related Illness

What is heat stroke?

Heat stroke occurs when the body cannot regulate its own temperature.  The body temperature of a person experiencing heat stroke may rise to 106°F or higher in 10 to 15 minutes.  The person will be unable to sweat or cool down.

Warning signs of heat stroke

  • body temperature of 103°F
  • red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
  • rapid, strong pulse
  • throbbing headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • confusion
  • unconsciousness

What to do

Call 911 for immediate medical assistance.  Try to cool the victim using any means available and monitor the victim's body temperature.  If the victim's muscles are twitching uncontrollably, do not give him/her liquids.

Other Heat-Related Illnesses

  • Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can progress into heat stroke.  Heat exhaustion may require medical attention.
  • Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms that may occur in association with strenuous activities.
  • Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. 

Understanding Weather Updates

  • Watch (less severe): hazardous weather is possible, but its occurrence, location or timing is uncertain.
  • Advisory (more severe): hazardous weather is occurring or expected. An advisory is used to describe less serious conditions than a warning.
  • Warning (most severe): current weather conditions pose a threat to life or property.


  • A cooling center is a temporary, air conditioned facility that provides shade and water to the public or medically fragile persons during a heat wave emergency.
  • Heat index describes  how the weather “feels” to our bodies; it is a measure of heat and humidity.
  • A heat wave means the heat index is over 100°F for at least three hours of the day for multiple days.
  • A heat wave emergency occurs when the heat index is excessively hot (over 105°F) for multiple days, or if there is a loss of power during a heat wave.  

Additional Resources

American Public Health Association: Climate Change is a Public Health Issue

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Extreme Heat

Michigan Department of Community Health: Public Health Impacts of Climate Change 

Michigan Department of Community Health: Extreme Heat Information Sheet

Stay Safe in Hot Weather Brochure

Stay Safe in Hot Weather Poster 

Hot Weather Guidelines for Schools

Child Care Weather Watch

Contact Us

Want more information about Washtenaw County's preparedness activities? Contact our Public Health Preparedness Administrator, Cindra James. To request a presentation or educational materials, contact Susan Cerniglia or call 734-544-6759.

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Hot Weather & Health Survey

In 2011, we conducted a hot weather and health survey. Over 1,300 local residents responded!  Results will be used to improve our community response plans.

Thanks for helping us keep our community safe and healthy!



For details, please contact Susan Cerniglia at or (734) 544-6759.

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