As summer hits, so does the sun – often causing temperatures to swell into the triple digits. Extreme heat is defined as any weather that’s hotter than the average. In Kansas, this means prolonged heat index temperatures that reach the high 90s or over 100 degrees.
Extreme heat can be dangerous. In fact, it’s the number one weather-related killer in the United States, ahead of floods and tornadoes. Be sure to follow proper precautions to stay safe and cool when it gets hot and humid outside, as heat-related illness can strike fast.
The National Weather Service issues heat advisories when extreme heat is anticipated, and when it can put the public’s health at risk. Follow weather updates from the NWS, trusted local news outlets and public safety officials.
As extreme heat hits and you’re going about your day, these tips can help you stay safe:
If you are unable to access air conditioning in your home, there are plenty of facilities you can access to cool off. The Johnson County Library system manages 14 libraries throughout the county that act as “cooling centers” during periods of extreme heat.
These 14 libraries offer many services, in addition to a cool place to rest and restore during hours of operation (hours vary by location):
You can also search for cooling centers in your area using United Way's cooling center lookup.
If you don’t take proper precautions during extreme heat, you can begin to experience symptoms of heat-related illness. Common heat-related illnesses include:
Heat exhaustion can turn into heat stroke if left untreated, and both forms of heat-related illness can cause death or permanent disability without proper medical care. Warning signs of heat stroke include:
If you see someone experiencing these symptoms during extreme heat, call 911 for immediate medical assistance. While you await the help of paramedics, cool the individual rapidly, get them to a shaded area and monitor their body temperature.
Do your part to keep others safe in Johnson County, too. During periods of extreme heat, check on your neighbors and vulnerable family members – including elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities – to make sure they’re okay.