When summer is here, it is important to remember the dangers of extreme heat. Heat can be deadly and community action really can save lives.
Extreme heat kills more people every year than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods combined. People who are young, or elderly, or ill are particularly vulnerable because their bodies are less able to maintain a consistent temperature.
Heat impacts do not land evenly, and community cooling centers can be as important for reducing summer isolation as they are for cooling off. Human connection, heat plans, and check-in calls save lives.
Here are some ACTIONS you and your church can take:
- Prepare for heat waves by planning a cooling centers or a cooling party. Think about how to get the word out, and how to get people there so they’re not isolated.
- Create a plan for hot-day check-in calls.
- Think about outdoor workers and people without consistent shelter. Can your church bring them dispensers full of cold water to refill bottles?
- Check out the CDC’s guidebook on heat. Pages 16-17 Being Prepared Before the Heat and page 18 Resources for Developing Extreme Heat Programsare terrific resources.
- Use air conditioners to stay safe and healthy but use only what you need. Try fans, community cooling, use your curtains, and change your cooking habits. Teach friends to do the same.
- Share a stay-cool tip a week in your church bulletin or newsletter.