Basic Ways to Keep Cool When the Power is Out
The dog days of summer have definitely been bearing down on a lot us over the past few months. In this kind of intense heat you won’t see many people out having a run or even working in the garden unless the sun has disappeared or hasn’t emerged yet. It’s true that when it gets this hot it’s hard to do much of anything, let alone think about what you might try and do to stay cool if you had no power, and thus, no air conditioning. But it’s also a great time for this emergency preparedness reminder.Thinking about days over 100 degrees and having no means to stay comfortable is not an enjoyable thought (although people all over the world live in such conditions every day), and so many of us have come to rely on modern conveniences that we might not know what to do without them. But true emergency preparedness includes thinking about the unthinkable situation, and figuring out what to do in case the unthinkable ever does occur. So what would you do to keep cool if the power was down and the AC was out of commission? Here are just a few things to consider when thinking about how to stay cool when it’s really, really hot. Some of these may sound obvious, but the obvious things are often what we forget when we’re spending time trying to come up with something more creative.• Dress smart, or dress less. Light, breathable clothing like linen is a good choice, and be sure to wear light colors. Others might choose to just strip down to their skivvies. Also great, but if you decide to go that route beware of getting broiled under the sun.• Stay out of direct sunlight. Staying inside sounds like it should be easy enough, but it’s easier said than done. If there are things to do and you have to go out, try covering your head and neck, which are the heat conductors of the body. • Drink lots of water. This won’t necessarily keep you cool, but it will keep you hydrated and lower the risk of a heat related ailment. This is important any time it’s hot, but critical in an emergency situation.• Know the signs of heat stroke/exhaustion. In alignment to the last bullet point, it’s important to know about and be able to recognize the signs of heatstroke and or heat exhaustion and what to do for a person who is showing symptoms.•Try and locate a cool center like this one in Southern California. There are some stipulations and they might be packed, but it may offer a short reprieve from sweltering heat–even if you have to get jammed in there with everyone else who had the same idea.• Find out if there are public buildings that are air conditioned and that might have power. Then grab a few supplies and get there fast to claim your spot before someone else does. • If you still have water in your house then take a cool shower or bath, but always be smart about water consumption in an emergency or post disaster situation. If there’s danger of a water shortage, save the water for drinking, not washing your hair.No power in extremely hot of cold conditions can be a miserable and dangerous proposition if you’ve got no emergency plan, and it’s the sort of dilemma that requires a little bit of creativity. So what would you do to stay cool in a hot situation?
—Jared Matkin—Jared Matkin is a Salt Lake City based freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast who is continually on the lookout for innovative and usable products designed to help improve the way we live.