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Beat the Heat: City Agency Urges Residents to Take Precautions


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The District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) will partially implement the city’s multi-agency heat emergency plan in response to the National Weather Service’s (NWS) forecast of higher than average temperatures over the next several days.


The partial implementation will include the opening of cooling centers where passersby can get a drink of water and brief respite from the heat. The cooling centers will be operational from 12 pm until 6 pm today at four District government buildings – Reeves Municipal Center, 2000 14th Street, NW; Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street, NW, King Office Building, 3720 Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue, SE. and the Virginia Williams Center, 920 Rhode Island Avenue, NE.


The Department of Human Services’ (DHS) hyperthermia hotline – 1-800-535-7252 – also will be activated. Residents are asked to call the hotline if they observe people on the street who are in distress as a result of the excessive heat. The department’s hyperthermia van will pick up persons in distress and take them to a shelter.


NWS is forecasting temperatures in the upper eighties today with highs in the upper-90s on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Temperatures in the mid- to lower-90s are forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday before the midday high drops back to near 88 degrees on Thursday of next week.


Hot weather early in the season can have a more significant impact on vulnerable segments of the population because they have not yet adjusted to warmer temperatures. This includes the elderly, infants and young children, the chronically ill and those taking certain medications.


HSEMA Director Darrell Darnell said residents should limit their outdoor activities today and take precautions to ensure they are not adversely affected by the extreme heat. “In addition to taking steps to keep themselves safe during the extreme heat, residents also should be sure to check on elderly relatives and neighbors and remember to bring their pets inside,” he noted.


Other recommended precautions include:


* Turn on an air-conditioner or fan

* DO NOT leave children or pets in vehicles

* Drink plenty of water

* Wear light-colored, lightweight and loose fitting clothes

* If you must go outside, apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going out

* Limit exposure to the sun (the sun is most powerful between 10 am and 3 pm)

* Avoid alcoholic drinks and caffeinated beverages.

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