Monday, July 28, 2014

Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane season began on June 1 and continues through November 30. However, the peak of Hurricane Season is mid-August through late October. With Philadelphia's recent history including Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, as well as Superstorm Sandy in 2012, make sure you and your family are prepared.

Take the time now, before the peak of Hurricane Season, to get ready:
  • Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify hurricane threats: 
    • Hurricane Watch: Issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions in 24 to 36 hours.
    • Hurricane Warning: Issued when dangerously high water and rough seas are expected in 24 hours or less.
  • Develop a Household Emergency Plan and give copies to everyone in your household. 
  • Know your evacuation route and where you will go if you need to evacuate. Consider staying with friends or family outside any flood prone areas.
  • Have a Go Bag of emergency supplies in case you need to evacuate.
  • For those times when it's safe to stay home, have a Shelter-in-Place Kit. Be sure to include flashlight, blankets and easy-to-prepare non-perishable food in case the power goes out.
  • Keep a Health Information Card in your wallet with any medical conditions, allergies, medications and dosages.
  • Keep all trees and shrubs well-trimmed to reduce wind debris.
  • If you have a car, always keep the tank at least half full in case you need to evacuate.
  • Find Out First with ReadyNotifyPA, the region's emergency text and email alert system. 
Hurricanes can also cause severe flooding and utility interruptions. Visit the Flood Preparedness and the Utility Interruption pages for more information on how to prepare.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Stay Cool This Summer

Be prepared for the heat and humidity with these Stay Cool Tips from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health:

  • Stay out of the sun. When in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15).
  • Avoid working or playing in the hot sun or other hot areas between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • To prevent sunburn, wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
  • Use drapes, shades, louvers or awnings in your home. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters the home by up to 80 percent.)
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat or visor, or use an umbrella for shade.
  • Slow down. Rest in the shade or a cool place every chance you get.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Maintain a normal diet.
  • Use air conditioners and fans. If you use a fan, make sure your windows are open to release trapped hot air.
  • Visit a friend with air conditioning or go someplace cool like a mall, library, or senior center.
  • Take a cool shower or bath.
  • Read your medication labels. Some medications can cause an adverse reaction in hot weather. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you need more information.
  • Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car during periods of intense summer heat. 

For more information on how to beat the heat this summer, visit the Excessive Heat page.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Signs of Heat Stress

When it’s hot, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health wants you to watch out for these signs of heat stress.

Warning Signs of Heat Stress
If you see these warning signs, get the person to a cool place, remove extra clothing and give the person water.

  • Decreased energy.
  • Loss of appetite, nausea
  • Lightheadedness, feeling faint
  • Heavy Sweating

Serious Signs of Heat Stress
If you see these serious signs of heat stress, call 9-1-1. While waiting for help, move the person to a cool area. Remove extra clothes. Use water and a fan to cool the person.

  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Throbbing headache.
  • Dry skin (no sweating).
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Confusion, anger, fighting.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea.
  • Unconscious or unresponsive.

Monday, July 7, 2014

When It's Hot, Be a Buddy

Excessive heat can cause health problems, especially for older people, infants, young children and people with certain medical conditions. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health recommends that you “Be a Buddy” by checking on your family, friends and neighbors that may be susceptible to the heat.

Be a Buddy by:

  • Checking if there is air conditioning.
  • If there is no air conditioning, use a fan in or next to a window.
  • Do not use a fan in a closed room without open windows or doors.
  • Make sure there is enough water to drink.
  • Make sure the person wears light-weight, light colored and loose clothing to stay cool.