Facilities Team gives tips to prevent heat related illnesses
Greetings from the Facilities Team:
We all trust that you are enjoying your summer and are managing the rather high temperatures as safely as possible. As the D.C. area continues to experience unusually high temperatures please take the time to review the various precautions to take to avoid heat-related illnesses.
There is a risk of heat-related illnesses for people without air-conditioning or who stay outdoors for an extended period (especially in direct sunlight.) The D.C. Homeland Security Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) shares the following important information that we can use on and off campus:
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- Turn on the air-conditioner or fan.
- DO NOT leave children or pets in vehicles.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Limit direct exposure to the sun, especially in the late morning and afternoon when it is strongest
- Take frequent rest breaks if you must work or exert yourself outdoors
- District agencies will activate their plans to ensure their residents, employees, and the public are protected against extreme heat. Information can be found here: http://hsema.dc.gov/publication/dc-2013-heat-emergency-plan. Be aware of the pools, cooling centers, emergency shelters and other resources that are available to citizens.
- Wear light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothes.
- Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside. SPF 15-30 or higher is best.
- Be aware of symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke - both for yourself and for other people that may be suffering. If you notice the following symptoms in yourself or others, the victim should move to a cooler environment, and medical attention should be sought ASAP.
Heat illness symptoms include:
- Cramps (often an initial symptom)
- Heavy sweating
- Pale or flushed skin
- Weak pulse
- Dizziness / feeling faint
- Rising body temperature
- Nausea or vomiting
- (If severe) Rapid, shallow breathing
The Facilities team of engineers monitors the central plant and building equipment daily to ensure alerts are reviewed and assessed for any needed maintenance. The Facilities' grounds team members are working on a modified schedule to manage their outside work and stay hydrated while outdoors.
Facilities needs your help in meeting the demands of the campus during these hot temperatures. Help building air conditioners work at peak effectiveness by keeping windows and external doors closed. To help reduce electric costs, turn off lights, when possible, and shut down computers/office equipment when you leave for the day.
As the excessive summer heat continues, the Facilities team sincerely desires that everyone be safe and comfortable.