January 1, 2011

Given the changing nature of our climate, we’ve experienced extreme weather; both severe drought and severe flooding. Today we will focus on the extreme heat. Here’s a list which will protect yourself, family and neighbours in the event of an extreme heatwave:


1. Educate yourself on Heatstroke: Heatstroke can lead to seizures, irritability, confusion, hyperventilation and shock. If you are informed about heatstroke you’ll be better prepared to know what to do about it.


2. Know what to do: If you see the warning signs, take action immediately; Get the injured person indoors/into the shade and cool them down.


3. Drink fluids regularly: Drink water as often as possible as you will need to stay hydrated and replace lost nutrients which occur naturally through sweating.


4. Don’t leave children, pets or the elderly in a car: The temperature within cars rises quickly when the sun is up and the ambient temperature is high. Be responsible and ensure that everyone is nice and safe.


5. Be a good neighbour: If you have neighbours with young children or who are elderly, check up on them from time to time to make sure they are OK. Children and elderly are more susceptible to heatstroke so make sure you pay attention to their well being


6. Focus on the ‘feels like’ temperature: Pay close attention to sources which mention temperature and humidity as it gives a closer indication to the actual temperature


7. Don’t forget about Wind: Air flow helps to evaporate sweat and cool down. Whenever possible, go to an area where a decent wind is blowing or stay near air conditioning or a fan to create air flow and stay cool.


8. Budget for delays in travel: Did you know that trains have to slow down when they get too hot? Bitumen (or asphalt) becomes gooey and disrupts travel under extreme weather, so plan for travel delays.


9. Design: This is a long term thing, but designers and architects should design public spaces and buildings which keep heatwaves in mind. In Sri Lanka, reports found that it is gradually becoming more dangerous for children to go out and play as it the heat is too hot to handle.

We hope these suggestions have helped. Stay safe everyone!

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