extreme heat warning

Plan Ahead for Extreme Heat

Texas is known for its hot summer days. And Texans know how to beat the heat during normal summer days.

The rules are different, however, for extreme heat.

“Extreme heat” means two or more days that are much hotter than average. According to the American Red Cross, extreme heat kills more people than any other weather event.

Air conditioning and fans can help you to stay cool—unless the power goes out.

Plan now with the tips below so you and your family can stay safe during an extreme heat emergency.

Who is at high risk for getting heat illness?

Anyone can become seriously ill from extreme heat. However, infants and young children can get dangerously ill much more quickly on hot, humid days.

You also might be at higher risk if you:

  • Are overweight.
  • Get tired or overheated during moderate work or exercise.
  • Are physically ill.
  • Are age 65 or older.
  • Have heart disease or high blood pressure.
  • Take medications for depression, poor sleep, high blood pressure, or other conditions that affect your body’s ability to sweat or stay cool.

What are heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

Your body can usually keep itself cool by sweating. During extreme heat, sweating might not be enough. You might then develop heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke.

Heat stroke is dangerous. If your body temperature rises too fast, and too high, your brain and other organs can be damaged. 

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We rely on air conditioners and refrigerators to keep our homes, food, and drinks cool. During a power outage, temperatures can rise quickly in our homes, refrigerators, and freezers. 

Prepare now so you’ll be ready to keep yourself and your family safe if you lose electricity during extreme heat.

Know where to find local cooling centers

During extreme heat, you can cool off in several cooling stations in Dallas and surrounding communities.

The Salvation Army of North Texas offers this service in five counties. For a list of locations and hours, visit the Salvation Army website.

The City of Dallas Office of Community Care lists several other cooling centers on its website. Check the Community Care page for more details about locations and hours.

How to prepare your freezer

  • According to the US Department of Agriculture, if your freezer is full, it will hold its temperature for about 48 hours with no power.
  • If it is half full, it will hold the temperature for about 24 hours.
  • Fill any empty spaces in your freezer with bags of ice or gel packs.
  • During a power outage, do not open the freezer door.

How to prepare your refrigerator

  • During a power outage, your refrigerator will keep food safe for up to four hours. Do not open the refrigerator door.
  • If you can buy bags of ice from a nearby store, do so as soon as you lose power.
  • After four hours, transfer food from the refrigerator to a cooler. Fill it with ice or frozen gel packs.
  • Add more ice as it begins to melt.

Extreme weather can be dangerous. Keep yourself and your family safe: Take a few minutes today to plan ahead for the hottest days of the year.

Are you feeling dizzy or weak—and worried you have a heat-related sickness? Have questions about what sunscreen is best for your child?

Get professional help by calling the 24-hour Nurse Line. There is no cost to you for this Parkland Community Health Plan service.


Parkland Community Health Plan