Preparing for New Hampshire’s beautiful seasons can help relieve stress and keep yourself, your family, and your community safe. The Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services (DPHCS) wants to provide you with helpful tips and tricks that you can do throughout the year to prepare because small actions can make a big difference during an emergency.
Summer/Extreme Heat Safety
Although heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year. Take the following steps to stay cool, hydrated, and informed during the summer months.
Wear Appropriate Clothing: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Stay Indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library - even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
- Electric fans may provide comfort, but they will not prevent heat-related illness, taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is better.
- Limit use of appliances, such as your dryer, dishwasher, and oven to avoid unwanted heat.
- Reduce the heat that’s coming in by closing your blinds and using thick, dark curtains (known as blackout curtains).
Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully: Limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest outdoors, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.
Pace Yourself: Decrease exercise during the heat. If you’re not used to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly, take beaks, and stop if you become out of breath.
Wear Sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out.
Do Not Leave Children in Cars: Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are at higher risk of getting a heat stroke or dying. When traveling with children, remember to do the following:
- Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
- To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver.
- When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.
Drink Plenty of Fluids: Drink more fluids, regardless of how active you are. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Stay away from sugary or alcoholic drinks, these cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
Keep Your Pets Hydrated: Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.
Check for Updates: Check your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips and to learn about any cooling shelters in your area.
Know the Signs: Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.
Use a Buddy System: When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-related illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness.
Monitor Those at High Risk: Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others:
- Infants and young children
- People 65 years of age or older
- People who are overweight
- People who overexert during work or exercise
- People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation
Heat-related illnesses are preventable. Learn the symptoms and what to do if you or a loved one shows signs of having a heat-related illness. For more information, please visit the CDC.
Winter Weather Safety
Serious health problems can result from prolonged exposure to the cold. The most common cold-related problems are hypothermia and frostbite. To stay safe and healthy in the cold, we recommend you to dress appropriately. Check the weather before you head outdoors!
Hypothermia vs. Frostbite
Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced. Lengthy exposures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature. Populations that are at high risk for hypothermia include older adults, babies, people who remain outside for long periods of time, and people who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.
Frostbite is a type of injury caused by freezing. It leads to a loss of feeling and color in the areas it affects, usually extremities such as the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation (removing the affected body part). People who are at high risk for frostbite are people with poor blood circulation and people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures.
For more information, visit the CDC’s website.
Staying Safe During a Winter Storm
- Know your area’s risk for winter storms. Extreme winter weather can leave communities without utilities or other services for long periods of time.
- Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.
- Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
- Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Keep the gas tank full.
For more information, visit ready.gov.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled. When power outages occur during natural disasters and other emergencies, the use of alternative sources of fuel or electricity for heating or cooking can cause CO to build up in a home, garage, or camper and to poison the people and animals inside. For more information, visit the following resources: