Scorching temperatures are sweeping across the globe, with Great Britain setting an all-time heat records and more than 100 million people under excessive heat warning or heat advisories in the United States. In southern and western Europe, more than 1,100 people have died from the heat (as of July 20th). Wildfires rage in France and Spain with fires in London the worst seen since World War II, all more severe due to abnormally high temperature.

Great Britain and Europe are experiencing temperatures that may seem not too bad to those of us in the southern United States where it is not uncommon to have 100 degree plus for weeks at a time. However, many of the homes in Europe and Great Britain are without air conditioning. China has opened shelters for people to escape the heat. Europe is looking forward to natural gas shortages due to the heat wave and officials in the United States have warned of power outages due to increased use of air conditioning.

With added stress on the power grid, increased fires, natural gas shortages and more, we need to prepare for summer outages. Even should the power remain on, understanding ways to remain cool and safe during these high temperatures is a must.

Following are a few steps you can take to help a summer power outage or a heat wave a little more bearable:

1. It’s O.K. to raid your emergency kit… That’s right, Five Day kits are not just for earthquakes and hurricanes but for any emergency.

Your kit should include Instant Cold Packs. Place them on the neck, forehead or chest for the best results.

Mylar Blankets placed to cover the sunniest windows will cut down on the heat entering your home. These blankets are large enough to cover a sliding door without piecing. You will be amazed at how quickly the temperature in a room will drop when you cover your windows with these blankets. You can also use aluminum foil however; you can see thru a mylar blanket and they will let in light, but not foil.  Mylar blankets are also great to use outdoors to create shade as they reflect the sun’s rays. If you don’t have mylar blankets get them now.

Other items in your kit may include hats, sunglasses, and sun screen to help when being outside is unavoidable.

2. Create shade. Remember not only do the sun’s rays create heat in your home but also hard surface areas such as patios, walkways and driveways. As these surfaces heat up, they raise the temperature in your home. They will release heat all night long keeping temperatures up. Shade those areas to keep your hard surfaces cool. Place your outdoor umbrellas, outdoor canopies, tarps, and dining flies where they will shade hard surfaces. If you are unsure how much heat a hard surface holds just walk on it with bare feet.

3. Get wet. Take a shower and don’t dry your hair, take a dip in the pool and don’t dry off (if the pool is in the sun don’t stay in too long), run through a sprinkler, keep a spray bottle nearby and mist your face (also great for your complexion), use wet compresses on your neck or head, keep a wet washcloth by your bed to cool yourself through the night, wrap your head in a wet bandanna, or soak your feet. If the power has not failed but your air conditioner has, take one of the blocks of ice in the freezer and place it in a tub to cool down the water before soaking your feet or wetting a compress.

4. Drink lots of water, lemonade or juices, but never anything with caffeine or alcohol as these will raise your body temperature. Sodas will only increase your thirst. Popsicles are a great way to stay hydrated, during a power outage eat them first before they melt.  If you are thirsty, you have waited too long to drink.

5. Eat cold foods. This is the time to eat sandwiches, salads and other foods that are not heated. Avoid large portions of protein as they will increase body temperature. Eat smaller, more frequent meals.

6. Cook outdoors or use a crock pot if you feel you must have a hot meal. Plug in the crockpot on the patio to keep the house cool.

7. Move activities, including eating and sleeping, to the coolest room in the house. This will normally be on the lowest level of your home and in a room with an exposure that does not receive direct sunlight.

8. Play board games or read, but don’t be too active.

9. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.

10. Sit next to a battery powered fan. Remember fans do not cool the air, they only move it so don’t leave them running when you leave the room. You become cooler as the moisture on your skin evaporates. This is the reason you want to stay wet!

11. Skip the exercise routine and working outside.

12. Go Shopping! No kidding. Go to the grocery store or mall and window shop. Taking in a movie or going bowling are also “cool” pastimes if they have power.

13. The elderly, young children, pregnant women, and those taking diuretics are most vulnerable to heat related emergencies. If a member of your family is taking any medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist to determine if they are more susceptible to the affects of the heat.

14. Check on housebound and elderly – neighbors and friends – and get them to a cooling center. Be sure there is a plan for their care when the cooling center closes. Many centers close for the night. Nighttime can be the most dangerous time of the day. Cooling centers can be found by calling the police department or local government agency. We assume the temperature will be lower at night, but this is not always the case – especially in the city. All those roads and sidewalks retain heat during the day and as they release it at night the temperature remains high. Same thing for suburban housing congestion – several homes on an acre of land with homes just a few feet from each other is a bad idea when trying to survive heat.

15.Visit a friend or relative out of town. The temperature in the city is usually several degrees higher than the temperature in a country setting.

16. Watch for signs of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. See your Totally Ready binder for more info on identifying and caring for heat related illness. These can become deadly, take it seriously.

17. When it cools down at night, if it cools down, open all the windows. Close them again mid morning as it starts to heat up.

18. Never leave children or pets in a parked car, even with the windows open. The temperature in a car, with the windows open, can reach 120º F within a few minutes.

19. If you are stranded in your car, place mylar blankets on the roof and over the windshield and rear window, on the outside of the car. Weigh them down with rocks or anything you have on hand. You can also secure them by closing them into the door. Keep the windows open. The mylar blankets will reflect the sun, greatly reducing the heat.

20. Remember your pets. Bring them inside or place them in a shaded area that catches breezes. Be sure they have plenty of water available for them to drink and hose them down regularly.

21. If you need to go outside, wear a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen.

22. Turn down the air conditioner when anticipating a summer storm or warned about a blackout. Keep your home as cool or cooler than usual so you are sure to start with a cool home when the power fails. We often turn off the air conditioner when leaving home. Do not do that if there is any chance of an outage.

23. Keep blinds and curtains closed during the day.

24. To prepare now place bags or tubs of water in the freezer to fill spaces. The more full the freezer the longer foods will remain safe in case of an outage. If the power does not fail, you will have ice to help cool you down.

25. If the power fails place a “Do not Open” sign on the fridge and freezer to protect food. Make a list of what you want to retrieve before opening the door.

Heat-related emergencies are very serious. Add a power outage and the results can be deadly. Protect yourself now by accumulating items that will help you get through the emergency such as mylar blankets, shades, fans, battery powered fans, and cooking equipment for outdoor cooking, and learn how to use them. Teach your family members the dangers and warning signs for heat related medical emergencies. Purchase crafts, books, puzzles and games to keep the family occupied when going outdoors is dangerous.

Carolyn is always available to and questions and share tips at and on Facebook. For those wanting information or to participate creating Christmas ornaments for Operation Christmas Ornaments and you do not have a Facebook account you can now find information and updates on Carolyn’s blog.

Catch Carolyn on Annette on America:  (prepping for blackouts and civil unrest) (prepping for recession)  (prepping for inflation)