According to the National Weather Service: Heat kills by taxing the human body beyond its abilities. In an average year, about 175 Americans succumb to summer heat. Among natural hazards, only the cold of winter - not lightning, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or earthquakes—takes a greater toll on lives. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and our bodies must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Most heat disorders occur because the person has been overexposed to heat or has over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to succumb to extreme heat and humidity.
Luckily, despite our semi-tropical climate, South Florida rarely experiences extreme heat. The waters of the Gulf Stream, just off shore, help keep our temperatures in a pleasant, or at least tolerable, range year round. Generally breezy conditions, and our relatively excellent air quality, also help to lower the risks for heat related illness. And, unlike many locations in northern states, most buildings in South Florida were constructed to maximize cooling, either through air conditioning, fans or other means. Even so, the best course of action is to be prepared for any conditions. This means making sure that the tools you use to stay comfortably cool or in good working order at all times, and that you know where to go for assistance and relief in the event of a power outage. Remember, libraries and other community activity centers are generally open to the public, and City of Fort Lauderdale Fire Department is ready to assist.
The good news is that many of the things you can do to protect yourself from extreme heat are also the very same things you should do to live sustainably. Keep reading to Green Your Routine.
- Before the Hot Season Begins
- During an Extreme Heat Event
- In the Event of Heat-Related Illness or Injury