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Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Issues Heat Emergency Alert Effective 11 a.m. Thursday, July 27 through 9 p.m. Saturday, July 29

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 26, 2023

The County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has issued a Heat Emergency Alert from 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 27 until 9 p.m. Saturday, July 29 due to the National Weather Service forecast for extremely dangerous temperatures and heat index values.

Heat Emergency

A Heat Emergency Alert is declared when the temperature or heat index is forecast to be 105℉ or higher for a period of two days or more.  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.  

Symptoms of heat-related illnesses may include painful muscle spasms or cramps, pale or flushed skin that may be damp or cool, dizziness, nausea, headache and weakness in the early stages. In extreme cases, red, hot, dry skin, weak pulse, rapid breathing and changes in consciousness can occur, in which case residents should seek medical attention immediately by calling 9-1-1.

County facilities, including libraries, swimming pools, recreation centers and senior centers are places to cool off during normal operating hours. Public locations such as indoor malls could also be utilized.

Free bottled water will be available to Montgomery County Ride On bus riders during service hours. Information on bus schedules is available on the Department of Transportation’s website and on the Ride On Trip Planner app.

During excessive heat, homeless shelters operate under a hyperthermia alert and residents may stay in the shelter 24/7. For unsheltered person’s they can also utilize Progress Place facility in downtown Silver Spring.  Individuals without shelter or residents concerned about the well-being of a homeless individual can call the 24-hour Homeless Information Line at 240-907-2688. Outreach partners will attempt to locate the individual and offer resources and support.

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 over 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Regulation 17-17, Anti Cruelty Conditions for Dogs and Other Pets during the 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.

Heat Emergency Pet Safety

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 about emergencies that may affect your home, workplace, child's school, or any other location within Montgomery County. 

For general information about County programs and services, call 3-1-1.  Information on heat emergency and hot weather safety tips is available on the Heat Emergency webpage.

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Release ID: 23-323
Media Contact: Mark Roper 240-962-1743
Link to Photos or Video: https://montgomerycountymd.gov/OPI/alerts/Heat.html
Categories: Environment, Public Safety