Extreme Heat Safety Considerations for People with Access and Functional Needs


As our state and nation face record temperatures, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) wants Californians to stay safe from the heat this summer.

Some populations are at a higher risk for heat related illnesses, including people with access and functional needs (AFN) like people with disabilities, older adults, children, limited English proficiency and transportation disadvantaged. Here are a few tips and considerations to stay safe from heat and reduce health risks:


Have an Extreme Heat Plan

Check your weather forecasts and heat advisories to know when heat events will happen and how long it’s expected to last. Create an extreme heat plan and share it with others to stay safe during an extreme heat event.


Have Family, Friends or Neighbors Check in on You

Have those around you check in on you during extreme heat events. Taking care of each other is crucial to keeping safe.


Sign up for Alerts and Notifications

Sign up for emergency alerts with your county or local officials. You can choose how to get alerts sent to you when you sign up, including cell phone, home phone, email, text messages, and in some cases, TTY devices.

Sign up for a medical baseline program, an assistance program for people who depend on power for certain medical needs. Participation is important to ensure you receive additional notification of upcoming or current power shutoff events which may occur during extreme heat events.


Know the Signs

Heat stroke symptoms can include high body temperature, dizziness, rapid heart rate, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Call 9-1-1. Heat exhaustions signs include sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and headache. Move to a cool place and get medical help if symptoms get worse or last longer than one hour.


Keep Cool

Visit a local cooling center or public air-conditioned space such as a library, community center, or shopping center. If you’re unable to travel to or find an air-conditioned space, consider the following at home:

  • Close windows, doors, shades, and curtains to prevent hot air and sunlight from entering your home during high heat days.
  • Place a cool damp towel on the back of your neck and wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.
  • Take a cool shower or bath to help reduce body temperature and provide relief from the heat.


Check Your Medications

Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to see if any of your medications affect your body’s ability to regulate temperature. Before an emergency, organize and protect your prescriptions, over-the-counter medicine and vitamins.

Heat Ready California shares some health complications that can result from exposure to extreme heat include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Neurological conditions
  • Mental health conditions


Additional Resources and Tools

Listos California: has resources to help you and others stay cool in extreme heat.

Cal OES News: includes the latest news and updates such as cooling centers and other summer safety information.

HeatReadyCa.com: has resources to help you be prepared for heat and includes additional information for people who are at a higher risk for heat related illnesses.

National Weather Service: allows you to monitor the weather forecast in your area by zip code.