California Agencies Activate Heat Wave Response

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has directed California's Office of Emergency Services and Department of Public Health to activate their heat response plans as a result of heat advisories and forecasted extreme temperatures throughout portions of the San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles County, and South Eastern California over the next seven days. State cooling centers will be open in eight counties and OES has established a toll-free number for the public to get information on how to protect themselves from the hot weather: 1-877-435-7021 Voice or 1-800-822-6268 TTY (active through 9/4/07).

"Once again we must act to help those around us that are most vulnerable to the extreme heat, especially the elderly and others at risk," Schwarzenegger said. "I urge all Californians to take these heat forecasts seriously as they enjoy their time with friends and family over this Labor Day weekend."

"Prolonged exposure to extremely high temperatures can be very dangerous, particularly for infants, young children, seniors and people with underlying health problems," said Dr. Mark Horton, director of the Department of Public Health. "During this period of extreme heat, I urge Californians to drink plenty of liquids, stay cool in an air-conditioned place, wear light-weight clothing, and check on friends and family members who are elderly or have a health condition."

To avoid heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other heat-related complications, state officials recommended that Californians:

  • Create a cooler environment by making sure that window air conditioners are installed snugly, making sure that window air conditioners and air conditioning ducts are properly insulated, weather stripping doors and sills, and placing window reflectors made of cardboard covered with aluminum foil between windows and drapes.
  • Drink plenty of water, especially when taking medication.
  • Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing.
  • Avoid physical activities during periods of peak temperatures.
  • Check-on neighbors and family members to ensure they are not being harmed by the heat.
  • Watch for signs of heat-related illness, including fatigue, nausea, headache, and vomiting.
  • Visit malls, theaters, and other public places that are air-conditioned if they don't have their own air conditioning.

To protect California's workers, Cal/OSHA's heat illness prevention regulations are in place to provide workers and employers with guidelines and requirements for preventing heat illness and information on what to do should a worker become sick. More information can be found at www.dir.ca.gov/heatillness.

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