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San Luis Obispo County, California


Heat and Cold Emergencies

Helping HandsExtreme Heat and Cold Preparedness

Although bouts of hot and cold weather are not normally thought of as disasters; they can kill. Heat and cold weather related illness affect our most vulnerable populations including the elderly, small children and those with health issues. If you know the signs of temperature related illness, death can be prevented.

Weatherproof Your Home

  • Insulate your home properly
  • Install and inspect HVAC systems
  • Install weather stripping on your doors and windows
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, or awnings.

During a Heat Emergency

  • Stay indoors and limit sun exposure.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, stay on the lowest floor.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, spend part of the day in a public building such as a mall, library, or movie theater where you can stay cool.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Dress in loose-fitting clothing that covers much of the skin.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who may live alone.
  • Never leave pets or children outside or in closed vehicles.
  • Avoid strenuous work if possible, If you must work in the sun, don’t work alone and watch for heat illness warning signs.

Extreme Cold

Protecting your home in the cold

  • Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping.
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundation.
  • Keep cabinet doors open during the cold in the kitchen and bathroom to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through pipes that tend to freeze.

Protecting yourself in the cold

Hypothermia happens when a person’s core body temperature is lower than 95°F. Hypothermia has three levels: acute, subacute, or chronic.  Acute hypothermia is caused by a rapid loss of body heat, usually from immersion in cold water. Subacute hypothermia often happens in cool outdoor weather when wind chill, wet clothing, or fatigue lower the body’s ability to cope with cold. Chronic hypothermia happens from ongoing exposure to cold indoor temperatures. The poor and elderly are most often affected by this.


Preventing Hypothermia

  • Everyone should have adequate food, clothing, shelter, and sources of heat.
  • Electric blankets can help, even in poorly heated rooms.
  • Wear layers of clothing, which help to keep in body heat.
  • Move around. Physical activity raises body temperature.

Hwy 41 Snow Photo by the Tribune

Hwy 41 East of Cholame. Photo by Jayson Mellom/Courtesy of The Tribune