Skip to main content

Press Releases

County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Issues Heat Emergency Alert Effective Noon, Sunday, July 19 through 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 21; Cooling Centers to Open at Noon Sunday

For Immediate Release: Saturday, July 18, 2020

The County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has issued a Heat Emergency Alert beginning at noon on Sunday, July 19 through 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 21 due to the National Weather Service forecast for extremely dangerous temperatures.

A Heat Emergency Alert is declared when the heat index is forecast to be 105 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. While nighttime temperatures will be lower, they still pose a health threat with extended exposure.  

Extreme heat affects the body's ability to regulate temperature, which can create dangerous conditions if appropriate safety measures are not taken. Heat may affect air quality, especially in urban areas, and may have a stronger impact on the elderly, children and sick persons.  

“The heat index over the next several days will be dangerous,” said Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Dr. Earl Stoddard. “We encourage residents to take precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones and keep a check on elderly friends, relatives and neighbors to ensure they are not showing signs of heat-related illnesses.” 

Residents are urged to take precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their pets, against heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. 

The County will provide cooling centers at the following locations:

Sunday and Wednesday; from noon to 6 p.m.:

Monday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.: 

Tuesday; from noon to 6 p.m.:

Masks are required at all times in the cooling centers and will be available, if needed. Do not visit a cooling center if you have a cough, fever, or any other symptoms of illness.

At any time during the heat emergency anyone seeking shelter may use any Ride On Bus to cool down during service hours. The buses are available for free. More information is available on the bus schedule on the at the DOT website.

The following precautions may help residents remain safe and comfortable during excessive heat days:

  • Stay indoors, whenever possible. Keep blinds or curtains closed to keep the inside cooler.
  • Keep in mind: Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they may not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a better way to cool off. Use the stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature.
  • Avoid strenuous activities that can result in overexposure to the sun, such as sports and gardening. If you must do a strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning before 9 a.m.
  • If you’re spending time outdoors, take frequent breaks in a cool, shaded location.
  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration, cramps, exhaustion or heat stroke can result from not drinking enough fluids. Water is the safest liquid to drink.
  • Avoid alcohol or caffeine.
  • When outdoors, wear proper protection from the sun. Light-colored clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are strongly recommended.
  • Never leave people or pets in a vehicle for ANY amount of time, even with the window open. The temperature inside parked cars can reach 130 degrees in only a few minutes.
  • Monitor and frequently check on those at high risk. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
  • Infants and children up to four years of age;
  • Individuals 65 years of age and older;
  • Individuals who are ill or on certain medications; and
  • Individuals who are overweight.

Heat exposure can be life threatening. Should any of the following occur, get out of the heat, loosen any tight or heavy clothing, and drink plenty of water:

    • Heat cramps: symptoms include painful muscle spasms, usually involving the abdominal muscles or legs;
    • Heat exhaustion: first signs are cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, dizziness, nausea, headache and weakness; and
    • Heat stroke: the most serious sign of overexposure. Symptoms include red, hot, dry skin, weak pulse, rapid breathing and changes in consciousness. Seek medical attention by calling 9-1-1.

    The Executive Director of the Office of Animal Services will enforce Executive Regulations 17-17Anti Cruelty Conditions for Dogs and Other Pets during this heat emergency. Pet owners must not leave pets unattended in vehicles or outdoors. The Montgomery County Office of Animal Services provides safety information for pet owners.

    Sign up for the County's Alert Montgomery notification system to receive emergency alerts regarding weather and other emergency information. The Alert Montgomery System provides accurate and immediate emergency notifications from Montgomery County to your cell, work, or home phones via text, email, or voice message to receive notifications about emergencies that may affect your home, workplace, child's school, or any other locations within the County. 

    For general information about County programs and services, call 3-1-1.  

    For information on heat emergency and hot weather safety tips are available on the Heat Emergency webpage.

    For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website as well as the County’s data dashboard or follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCountyMD

    Put the “count” in Montgomery County! Be sure to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail. It’s safe, confidential, easy, and important. #2020Census #EveryoneCountsMCMD

     # # #

    Release ID: 20-382
    Media Contact: Judy Stiles 240-463-2442