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Tips for keeping cool, safe as record-breaking heat wave hits central Pa.

Patriot-News - 6/17/2024

Central Pa. will be experiencing its first significant heat wave of the summer this week, with the National Weather Service saying the longevity of the dangerous heat has not been experienced for decades in some places.

High temperatures in the Harrisburg area are expected to get close to 100 degrees by the end of the week. The first of many expected heat advisories goes into effect on Tuesday.

Here are steps you can take to stay safe, keep your pets safe, save money on utilities and so forth:

Keep cooler

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health have plenty of suggestions.

Heat-related illnesses

What’s the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

Seek immediate medical attention if you are concerned someone is showing signs of a heat-related illnesses including a heat-stroke. Check on your neighbors and family, especially those who are very old, very young or have chronic illnesses.

Also, never ever leave a person or pets alone in a vehicle, even if the windows are cracked. Each year, multiple children die after being left in hot cars. The Pa. Department of Health recommends that if you have a young child in your household, lock your cars, even in your own driveway and keep your keys out of reach so they don’t accidentally get stuck in a hot car.

A/C systems

Make sure your air conditioning system is working efficiently by being the appropriate size for your home and that it’s in good shape. That’ll save money, too.

Running fans throughout the house will keep the air moving and reduce stuffiness. (Make sure to set your ceiling fans to the clockwise position for the best effect.) Have an insulation pro take a look at your walls; older insulation is less effective and wastes energy.

Windows tend to increase heat in the home. Use blinds, curtains or window film to cover them during the day and keep sunlight from heating up your home, making the a/c work harder than necessary. Also, try not to run heat-generating appliances, such as clothes dryers and ovens, during the day.

MORE: Some Pennsylvanians can get free air conditioners. Here’s how

Pets and heat

Under Pennsylvania’s Libre’s Law, dogs may be tied outside for no more than 30 minutes when temperatures are higher than 90 degrees.

Before you take your pets for a walk, think about how hot the sidewalk is.

Here’s what the ASPCA has to say:

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