The world’s seven-warmest years have been the last seven (2014-2020) and should this trend continue, heat waves are likely to become more frequent, more severe, and more extended. As heat waves continue to blanket the country, it’s never been more important to focus on heat safety and taking precautions while outdoors.

SCA crews spend hours working in the field during extreme hot weather and are always following heat protocol to ensure safety. Here are some helpful tips based on information from the SCA Field Guide on how you can prevent heat illness and stay cool this summer.

1. Limit Activities

It’s crucial to modify activities during high temperatures. Try moderating activities so they only occur early in the morning or late in the day, and avoid any strenuous activity if possible. Also note the sun’s rays are usually strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

SCA members taking break in woods

2. Stay Hydrated

Heat illnesses are caused by an imbalance of water, electrolytes, and/or heat in the body. A person’s vulnerability to heat illness can be affected by age, general health, acclamation, sunburn, use of medications, and consumption of food, water, alcohol, and caffeine. While each person is different, choosing to drink water adequately throughout the day can help maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance. Keep a reusable water bottle with you when participating in any outdoor activities.

SCA water bottle in plants

3. Utilize Shade

In order for the body to adequately cool, sun must be completely blocked off. Shade can also help prevent the skin from being exposed to the sun and reducing the chances of sunburn. Stay close to areas that provide some natural shade through trees or access to the indoors.

SCA crews under shade

4. Choose Sun-safe Clothing

When exposed to extreme heat or the sun for hours, wear sun-safe clothing that is loose-fitting, light-colored and lightweight, and made from breathable fabrics such as cotton. You can also add a wide-brimmed hat to protect some of the most sensitive areas that are prone to burns and to cool off.

5. Monitor Heat Index

Keep in mind that temperatures are constantly fluctuating and that certain levels of heat pose more of a severe risk than others. The likelihood of heat disorders with prolonged exposure or strenuous activity increases as the heat index rises.

heat index chart

Do you have your own tips? Share them with us on social using #StayCoolSCA.