Heat Wave Emergency Tips

April 27, 2004

Los Angeles: Exposure to extreme heat can make people seriously ill. Unchecked heat-related illnesses may become a serious problem in a short period of time and can cause death. Though anyone can become a victim to excessive heat, the elderly are among those people most at risk. In recent years, several hundred persons have died in cities across the country as a result of excessive heat during heat waves. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstrokes are conditions caused by overexposure to heat.
Los Angeles has experienced some of the hottest weather in the nation. Angelinos should be aware of risk factors for heat related illnesses in addition to the symptoms of people who might be experiencing a heat related illness. Be particularly aware of individuals who are at high risk for excessive heat exposure, and make special efforts to insure these individuals are properly cared for. Everyone in Los Angeles is encouraged to check on people they know or come in contact with who are at risk for excessive heat exposure. Everyone should also be prepared to advise at risk individuals of preventive measures for heat exposure and offer assistance when needed. The following information will assist in that endeavor.


Heat Wave – temperatures that reach 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature;

Heat Index – an accurate measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is combined with the actual air temperature;

Heat Cramps – painful spasms usually in leg muscles and abdomen, heavy sweating;

Heat Exhaustion – heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin, fainting and vomiting; and

Heat Stroke – high body temperature, hot dry skin, rapid strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness.

General Heat Wave Emergency Tips

Dress for the heat;
Drink water;
Eat small meals and eat more often;
Slow down, avoid strenuous activity.

"The information in this circular is for helping individuals recognize incidents of overexposure to heat," states Public Information Officer Rudy Villarreal, Media Relations Section. "If there is any doubt regarding person’s health or well being, immediate medical attention should be sought, or call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance."
There are many more strategies outlined in the LAPD’s "Heat Wave Emergency Circular". This news release was prepared by Public Information Officer Rudy Villarreal, Media Relations Section, at 213-485-3586.