School’s Back, and the Heat is On: Follow Red Cross Tips

Heat Safety
Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.

A heat wave is starting to bake the Plains and parts of the Midwest, just in time for school’s return.

Since summer’s clearly sticking around for the time being, this is a good time to refresh your memory of what you should do in a heat wave. The American Red Cross has some simple steps you can take to keep you and your kids safe.

During a Heat Wave:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
  • Sports Safety

    The return to school means many student athletes will be outside for practice. But during a heat wave, athletes should avoid workouts and exercise during the hottest times of the day—these should be scheduled for early in the day or later in the evening. Other ways to stay safe include:

  • Get acclimated to the heat by reducing the intensity of your workouts or exercise until you are more accustomed to the heat.
  • Take frequent, longer breaks. Stop about every 20 minutes for fluids and try to stay in the shade.
  • Those in charge of student practices should reduce the amount of heavy equipment athletes wear in extremely hot weather.
  • Dress athletes in net-type jerseys or light-weight, light-colored cotton tee shirts and shorts.
  • Know the signs of heat-related emergencies and monitor athletes closely.
  • Athletes should inform those in charge if they are not feeling well.
  • Responding to a Heat Emergency

    Could you tell if someone were suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke? Would you know how to respond?

    The American Red Cross First Aid App puts that information at your fingertips, helping you prepare and respond to heat emergencies and other events.

    Available for iPhone and Android devices, the free First Aid App gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. It also features videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.