Back in 2018, millions of people in a large portion of the United States experienced one of the worst heat waves in recent memory, with temperatures of over 95 degrees being the order of the day. Several heat wave-related deaths were also reported in some areas. The government gave all sorts of advisories and warnings to counter the serious effects of this condition.
Why is a heat wave such a serious concern? It all goes down to the location of this environmental phenomenon. In tropical regions, it could be just another hot August day. However, the scenario is very different in normally cooler areas. In Knoxville and the United States in general, heat waves can be devastating, especially if they come unannounced. To keep safe, you need to prepare yourself and your home for this kind of emergency. Whatever you do before the heat wave arrives will determine how well you cope.
Heat Wave Effects
Did you know that heat waves kill more people than other climate-related disasters, including floods and hurricanes? The reason is that the human body can only tolerate excessive heat to a certain point. It operates best at up to 98.6° Fahrenheit (37° Celsius), beyond which the body attempts to eliminate some heat. Some responses include an increased heart rate and dilation of blood vessels. With continued exposure to the conditions, the body can become exhausted, leading to nausea and weakness. Heat stroke may then follow, and the individual will be facing imminent coma and death. The following home preparations can ensure you and your family stay safe.
Like in any other disaster, it is good to arm yourself with the appropriate emergency kit that contains essentials such as clothing, food, and water. The importance of the kit is to help you survive, whether you will be confined inside the home or will have to relocate. Remember to store the kit in an easy-to-reach area.
Window Shades: To Shield and Ventilate
Preparing the home for a heat wave does not need to be complicated. Even the simple act of using good shades will keep the heat off. If you are leaving, pull down the window shades. Air circulation is crucial at this time, so you need to find the best types of shades. Louvers are perhaps your best bet if you want to ensure adequate air circulation. If lots of sunlight is hitting the window, you may opt for reflectors as a temporal way of deflecting the heat. Once the heat wave has passed, you can remove such components.
State of Air Conditioner
If your home has a central air conditioner, it should be able to retain cool air. That is if it is in perfect shape. Check the unit for any problems that may affect efficiency. Clean the air filter and make sure that the weather-stripping is okay. For areas with room air conditioning, check the unit’s condition and seal any leaks around the windows and doors.
What if there was a heat wave today? If you feel that you would bear the brunt, it is probably because you have not prepared. Prepare your home with long-term strategies, but you can start with these simple ones.