Public Health shares resources and information for the public and the media on how to stay safe during the coming days of extreme heat.
Another round of extreme heat is in the forecast for the Puget Sound region, and Public Health - Seattle & King County urges everyone in King County to be prepared. Temperatures are expected to rise sharply in coming days, peaking Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12-14. Heat can be deadly, but deaths from heat are preventable.
The earlier extreme heat event that began in late June took dozens of lives in King County and sent many hundreds to the emergency department with heat-related illness. Those tragic outcomes reinforce what Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said at that time: "Climate change is a health emergency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is literally a matter of life and death."
During days of extreme heat, everyone should ensure they have a cool place to stay and avoid being out in the sun during the hottest periods of the day. Take the following precautions to stay safe:
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before you feel thirsty.
- Keep your home cooler by shutting blinds or drawing curtains. Use fans or air-conditioners, if you have one.
- Check on your neighbors, friends, and family in the area – particularly seniors and people with medical conditions - to ensure they are not suffering heat illness at home. Cooling centers are available.
- Avoid outdoor activities, if possible, during the heat of the day, generally from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
- Never leave children or pets in a vehicle. Temperatures inside of cars can skyrocket to deadly levels quickly during extreme heat.
- Use life jackets or other flotation devices on the water to prevent drowning.
- (For more tips on staying safe during extreme heat, visit kingcounty.gov/beattheheat.)
Where to stay cool:
Many cooling centers are open now. Here are some resources for finding one:
- The King County Office of Emergency Management provides updates on options for people who need a place to stay cool on its Emergency News blog.
- The City of Seattle provides this map of cooling centers within the city.
- The State of Washington's 2-1-1 information center is also a resource for cooling center options.
Anyone who visits a cooling center, whether or not they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, should wear a well-made, snug-fitting mask.
Note on COVID-19 testing locations: Some sites that perform COVID-19 testing are adjusting their hours due to the extreme heat. You can find the latest information on hours and availability at King County's COVID-19 testing website.