The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) reminds the public to take extra precautions and to stay informed about weather-related conditions. An excessive heat warning is in effect from 11 a.m. this morning and will continue through Saturday evening, with temperatures expected to reach as high as 110 degrees with the heat indices and warm and humid nighttime conditions in the city.
“Extreme heat can be dangerous and can greatly impact our families, pets, lifestyle and activities. Everyone should stay hydrated, stay in a cool place and stay in touch with friends and family members who may need additional help,” said OEMC First Deputy Rich Guidice. “As always, OEMC will continue to monitor weather conditions, large-scale events and is prepared to activate plans and alert the public should a situation warrant.”
There are approximately 80 outdoor activities taking place throughout the city this weekend, including the Dave Matthews Concerts at Northerly Island, the Families Belong Together Protest and Rally, and fireworks at Navy Pier. Those attending the events are encouraged to take precautions so they can enjoy the events.
“As the temperatures rise, everyone should take care of themselves and also check on family members, friends and neighbors especially those who are elderly, young children and people with underlying health conditions,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Julie Morita, MD.
“Heat exhaustion” is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. “Heat stroke” is more serious, and occurs when the body starts to lose its ability to regulate itself. The telltale signs of heat stroke are:
• An extremely high body temperature, such as 103 degrees or above.
• Dizziness and nausea.
• A throbbing headache and a pulse that is rapid and strong.
• Skin that is red, hot and dry.
If you see someone suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, take immediate action. Call 9-1-1 immediately and then try to move the person into a cool place and cool the person with water.
CDPH also encourages residents, especially those spending time outdoors, to protect themselves from mosquito-related illness by taking a few precautionary steps to prevent biting:
• Use mosquito repellent when outdoors.
• Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors for long periods of time.
• Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
Chicagoans are encouraged to be good neighbors and family members by checking in on the disabled and seniors who may not understand the effects of extreme heat, or call 3-1-1 to request well-being checks and rides to cooling centers from the Department of Family and Support Services.
Chicago’s beaches and pools will be open this weekend to provide relief from the heat. Swimming is allowed when lifeguards are on duty and beach-goers should heed any warnings by officials. Visitors should check www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/beaches for updates on water conditions. Boaters are reminded to wear safety vests to keep everyone safe – even the best swimmers can experience a situation resulting in putting first responders at risk for a rescue as well.
While beaches, public parks and pools make excellent places to cool off, open fire hydrants do not.
“Playing in the shooting water of an open hydrant is not a way to stay cool," said Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Jose Santiago. “Children are not thinking about safety, and they often cannot hear approaching cars. In years past, we have seen young people injured or killed as a result of being hit by motorists who did not know they were in the spray.”
OEMC also reminds parents to make sure their children are aware of the City's curfew laws and that children are home before curfew this summer. Youth ages 16 and under must be indoors by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends, and children ages 11 and under must be inside by 8:30 p.m. on weeknights and 9 p.m. on weekends.
The City offered additional safety tips to help residents protect themselves and those they love in the heat.
If your child or pet is locked in the car:
• Call 9-1-1.
• While waiting, cover the windows to keep the car from heating up so fast.
• If you break the car window, do it far away from the child or pet.
Safety tips for pet owners:
• Give plenty of water (animals can get dehydrated very quickly).
• Keep them indoors and/or out of the sun.
• Do not over-exercise your pet in the heat. Try to go our early in the morning or late evening.
• Never leave animals alone in a parked vehicle.
ComEd is also reminding residents about important information and resources available to help them beat the heat. For assistance paying household utility bills, residents are reminded to contact Com Ed at call 888-806-CARE. To hold down energy costs, residents should consider the following:
• Use energy efficient air conditioning units.
• Regularly clean and/or replace filters for air conditioning units.
• Close shades during daytime hours to make your home cooler (open shades during evening hours).
• Use ceiling fans whenever possible (if using ceiling fans, it's not necessary to set your air conditioner so low).
• Keep your home at 78 degrees in the summer, or at the warmest temperature that is comfortable for you.
• When leaving home for more than four hours, raise the thermostat five to 10 degrees in summer. Do the same at night before going to bed.
• Close south-, east-, and west-facing curtains during the day to keep out solar heat during the summer.
To get the latest weather related information and more, residents can register for the City’s Emergency Alert System at www.NotifyChicago.org.
Additional emergency preparedness information and tips are available on the Office of Emergency Management and Communications’ website: www.cityofchicago.org/oemc. For timely updates and other information, follow OEMC on twitter: @ChicagoOEMC and Facebook: @facebook/coemc.