Tips to Help Avoid Heat-Related Illnesses From the County of Riverside Emergency Management Department

The City of Cathedral City and the Coachella Valley continue to experience a prolonged period of extremely hot temperatures. Extreme heat is the leading weather-related cause of death in the U.S. However, heat-related illnesses and deaths are largely preventable with proper planning, education and action. The County of Riverside Emergency Management Department and its Riverside Emergency Medical Services Agency (REMSA) encourages individuals in affected areas to pay close attention to weather forecasts, heed the advice from local officials and follow these tips to stay safe during extreme heat.

An extreme heat event is two or more days and nights of unusually high heat for your region. Episodes of extreme heat, create a greater danger to residents from heat-related illnesses — especially those who are elderly, children or medically frail.

Heat stroke is an emergency – call 911

Riverside County is diverse and ranges from mountain communities to vast deserts. Temperatures can vary dramatically and extreme weather is not uncommon. Staying informed on weather forecasts will help you plan and prepare for when extreme heat or cold is forecast, take precautions early to avoid weather-related illness or death.

Tips to help avoid heat-related illnesses.

Understand Your Risk and Hazard. Summer heat can be especially dangerous for older adults, those who work outside, people with certain health conditions, and those without access to air conditioning. It’s important to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat stroke and ways to respond. While all heat-related illnesses can require medical attention, heat stroke is always a medical emergency. If you experience or notice someone else experiencing the symptoms of heat stroke, call 9-1-1 and get the person to a cooler place right away.

  • Keep Everyone Safe. Never leave children, elderly, disabled individuals or pets alone in unattended vehicles. Heat can rise in a car up to 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. It is important to check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Stay Cool. Fans alone aren’t enough in high heat and high humidity. Cool Centers are available in locations throughout Riverside County. To find the Cool Center near you, go to You can also go somewhere with air conditioning or visit a public place like the library, museum, or shopping mall to stay cool. Other ways to keep cool include wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing, taking a cool shower or bath to cool off and if you are at home, keep curtains closed to keep the heat out.
  • Stay Hydrated. Drink plenty of water even if you do not feel thirsty and avoid drinks with caffeine. If you have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, are on fluid-restricted diets, or have a problem with fluid retention consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Check the Air Quality. Hot weather can make air quality worse. Poor air quality can be especially dangerous for people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children. You can enter your zip code on the page to get air quality data where you live.
  • Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside
  • When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening when temperatures are lower
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke (click here for signs and symptoms)
  • Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible
  • Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location
  • Don’t forget about your pets! Take special care to make sure your pets stay cool and have plenty to drink when it’s hot out
  • If you are unable to escape the heat a Cool Center (cooling center) may be an option for you. Find the nearest Cool Center here.

Other Important Tips:

  • Extreme heat and heat waves can also affect power systems, as utility companies may shut down portion of the electric grid. If the power goes out, use only flashlights or battery-powered lanterns for emergency lighting. Never use candles during a blackout or power outage due to extreme risk of fire.
  • Use generators safely and always use them outdoors and at least 20 feet from windows, doors and attached garages. Make sure to keep the generator dry and protected from rain or flooding.

Programs to assist with utility bills

Data on heat-related illnesses from Riverside University Health System (RUHS)

Plan for power outages

Flex Alerts and Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) may affect your electricity during high heat. Click on the links below for helpful information:

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Ryan Hunt

View posts by Ryan Hunt
Communications & Events Manager 760-770-0396
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