Friday, July 25, 2008

When it's hot!

When it’s hot, it’s HOT. Without power it can be beyond miserable!

Okay, so what does being hot have to do with preparedness? Nothing if you live north of Alaska. But just in case there are a few problems accompanying the “hot,” let’s talk for a minute or two.

Heat can be as dangerous as cold when it comes to extremes. If you have an infant, someone who is confined to bed or a wheel chair or someone who is elderly and not able to get around or care for themselves, extreme heat can be deadly. Or if you are like me and become dysfunctional and wilt when it gets above 75°, heat can be a problem!

Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can turn an uncomfortable situation into a disaster.

When you combine extreme heat with a long-term power outage flashing red lights will really start to go off, (battery powered of course). Warning – Problems, even severe problems, are at your doorstep.

In planning ahead and trying to think of things that might work – without power- let me suggest a few “old-fashioned” remedies. Keep in mind there most likely will not be ice, ice cubes, slushes, or fans, let alone air conditioners to solve the situation. Even when power starts to come back on you are usually requested by the authorities to use bare minimum amounts of electricity sometimes for an extended time period. This most likely would mean essential power only, not air conditioning, until the electrical grid can get back up to normal distribution capacity.

Old-fashioned means using no electrical power at all!

Staying out of the sun as much as possible is a good rule to follow. Sunburns are painful and the pain is intensified with extreme heat. A rule of thumb to follow with children is to limit exertion and exposure to sun. That could mean having to put forth the effort to come up with “quiet-games,” or quiet activities. This, of course is without videos, TV or computers. Now is the time to think ahead and create a stash of age-appropriate games, puzzles, crayons, books, and what ever you can come up with such as craft supplies. These should be not only for “children,” but for all members of your household. If you are not dealing with on going storms, floods or other trauma – just long-term power outages and heat will try your patience. The days will be long and exhausting, and the nights most likely will be long and exhausting as well. But please don’t take it lightly; there could be serious consequences.

Make sure you have soothing lotions and burn relief in your first-aid kit,

Frequently soaking ones hands and wrists or feet in bowls of water will help. If water is rationed or in very short supply, keep the bowl of water and reuse it for more cooling.

Another alternative is frequently “sponging” yourself or a child or the person in your care with water. Even tepid water will bring relief.

Draping wet towels or cloths around the neck and letting them hang there while the water evaporates will help cool you. Repeat, keeping the cloth or towel wet. This is one of those times when care of yourself is more important than appearance or “being cool.”

Drink lots of water, NOT sugary soft drinks. Juice crystals, such as lemonade, are a good thing to have on hand. Even if there is no ice for the water, it can be a thirst quenching change.

Creating hand fans with folded sturdy paper, or using sheets of paper or what ever that can be hand held. Thick magazines, etc. get very heavy, very quickly is someone is frail or not feeling well. (Remember, heat exhaustion makes you feel sick.) Besides, with the perspiration from hands print ink will smear onto skin.

Eat lightly and don’t exert yourself by attempting to cook or warm foods. Now this may seem like a redundancy to some of you, but to others who think there is only one way to fix “meals” and that is to “cook,” this could prove to be an “Ah Ha” moment. (You can always tell the spouse or teen agers, "Barbara says." )

CAUTION: If heat is combined with thunder and lightening, playing in puddles definitely is NOT a way to cool off. This should not be taken lightly or something we assume everyone knows. Children need to be told over and over what not to do, and why, when it is something they want to do.

Keep all chocolate as cool as possible or be prepared to lick fingers constantly while trying to hold it and eat fast.

Part of the preparedness principles in dealing with extreme heat may just be a few reminders, and making sure you have a bucket or bowl big enough to fit feet in

Join the Neighborhood Newsletter . . . Subscriptions are free and joining is easy. Just by signing up and maintaining your subscription to receive the yourLDSneighborhood newsletter, you become eligible for our "Thank You" prizes. Our dozens of giveaways range from a trip for two to China, to iPods® (each with a $50 gift certificate for LDS music), cruises, and more.Learn about our amazing monthly, quarterly, and annual giveaways by clicking here.

Return to the Neighborhood