Surviving extreme heat

Photo of a road crew workingFor residents who work outdoors, it is important to pay attention to the heat index and how hot it will "feel" at a given temperature and humidity.
Temperatures in the mid 80's can be dangerous when the humidity is high. Keep extra water available and be more cautious with vigorous activity!

Orange County Emergency Services Director Dinah Jeffries offers the following tips for those who must be outside during extreme heat.

LIMIT outdoor activities if at all possible, check on elderly neighbors and family members and those without air conditioning, and please make sure pets have a cool place to stay with plenty of water!

Heat emergencies can be life-threatening if left untreated or treated improperly. The information below will help you recognize potentially serious conditions and ensure proper treatment in a heat emergency:

  • Sunburn– Reddened and painful skin, possibly blistering can occur when the skin absorbs excessive UV rays. Aloe Vera gel can help soothe burned skin. Apply dry, sterile dressings to blisters.
  • Heat Cramps– Painful muscle spasms induced by poor electrolyte balance in the body. Move the victim to a cool location. Gently stretch spasms and give small sips of cool water (1/2 glass every 15 minutes). Stop fluids if victim becomes nauseated.
  • Heat Exhaustion– Heavy sweating, pale, cool skin, fainting or dizziness, nausea and vomiting are all signs of heat exhaustion. Move the victim to a cool area, and administer small sips of cool water (1/2 glass every 15 minutes) Never put a victim in an ice bath, or very cold water. Call 911 if vomiting occurs.
  • Heat Stroke– An immediate medical emergency. Hot, red, dry skin. Sweating stops and the victim’s temperature rapidly rises. Unconsciousness may occur. Call 911 immediately and move the victim to a cool area while awaiting care. Sponge victim with cool (not cold) water and fan gently.

DSS offers fans, assistance with electric bill payments

Orange County DSS has a limited supply of fans and can also provide emergency assistance for residents who need help with paying their electric bill to keep the air conditioning running.

To qualify for help, you must live in Orange County, and the household income must be under 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Please visit either DSS location (Hillsborough Commons or Southern Human Services Center in Chapel Hill) to see if you qualify.

Heat Safety Graphic