Beat the Heat
Quick Tips for Responding to Excessive Heat Events
Read complete Excessive Heat Events (EHE) Guidebook on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website. Below is a snapshot of the guidebook in brief.
- Use air conditioners or spend time in air-conditioned locations such as malls and libraries.
- Use portable electric fans to exhaust hot air from rooms or draw in cooler air.
- Take a cool bath or shower.
- Minimize direct exposure to the sun.
- Stay hydrated - regularly drink water or other nonalcoholic fluids.
- Eat light, cool, easy-to-digest foods such as fruit or salads.
- Wear loose fitting, light-colored clothes.
- Check on older, sick, or frail people who may need help responding to the heat.
- Know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses.
- Direct the flow of portable electric fans toward yourself when room temperature is hotter than 90 degree Fahrenheit.
- Leave children and pets alone in cars for any amount of time.
- Drink alcohol to try to stay cool.
- Eat heavy, hot, or hard-to-digest foods.
- Wear heavy, dark clothing.
Use of Portable Electric Fans During Excessive Heat Events
The widespread availability and ease of using portable electric fans draw many people to use them for personal cooling during an EHE. Portable electric fans can, however, increase the circulation of hot air, which increases thermal stress and health risks during EHE conditions. As a result, portable electric fans need to be used with caution and under specific circumstances during an EHE. Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts for their use:
- Use a portable electric fan in or next to an open window so heat can exhaust to the outside (box fans are best).
- Use a portable electric fan to bring in cooler air from the outside.
- Plug your portable electric fan directly into a wall outlet. If you need an extension cord, check that it is UL (Underwriter Laboratories) approved in the United States or CSA (Canadian Standards Approved) approved in Canada.
- Use a portable electric fan in a closed room without windows or doors open to the outside.
- Believe that portable electric fans cool air. They don’t. They just move the air around and keep you cool by helping to evaporate your sweat.
- Use a portable electric fan to blow extremely hot air on yourself. This can accelerate the risk of heat exhaustion.
- Use a fan as a substitute for spending time in an air-conditioned facility during an EHE.
- If you are afraid to open your window to use a portable electric fan, choose other ways to keep cool (e.g., cool showers, spend time in an air-conditioned location).