The purpose of the protocol is to ensure that the most vulnerable populations receive protection from the hot conditions. While enacted, a system is set up for state agencies, municipalities, and other partners to coordinate with United Way 2-1-1 to make sure that information regarding cooling centers is available statewide, providing a location to get some relief from the hot conditions.
Anyone in need of a cooling center should call 2-1-1 or look online at 211ct.org to find their nearest location. (In the coming hours, the website will display a banner that contains a link to a list of cooling centers.)
“The stretch of hot weather coming this week isn’t expected to be quite as hot and humid as the most recent wave we had a few days ago, but the temperatures will still be very high, and anyone who anticipates spending long periods of time outdoors should take caution,” Governor Lamont said. “The state is working with our local and nonprofit partners to make cooling centers available statewide. Anyone who needs a place to cool off should call 2-1-1 to find their nearest available cooling center.”
The following actions are implemented while the protocol is enacted:
- The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security uses its WebEOC communications network, which is an internet-based system that enables local, regional, and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information about a variety of situations and conditions.
- Municipalities and other partners submit information on the opening of cooling centers into the WebEOC, providing a real-time database on the availability of these locations statewide. United Way 2-1-1 uses the system to act as a clearinghouse to assist residents in locating a cooling center.
- Regional coordinators from the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security monitor WebEOC in order to respond to any requests from municipalities for state assistance.
- The energy utility companies provide the state with regular updates regarding the impact of the weather conditions on their respective utilities throughout the duration of the protocol.
Although anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others:
- Infants and young children are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.
- People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to change in temperature.
- People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.
- People who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness.
- People who are physically ill, especially those with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.
Some prevention tips to stay safe in extreme heat include:
- Keep your body temperature cool to avoid heat-related illness.
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to the morning and evening. Try to rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to cool off.
- Find an air-conditioned shelter. (Call 2-1-1 for a list of cooling centers.) Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
- Avoid direct sunlight.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Take cool showers or baths.
- Check on those most at-risk several times a day.
- Pets that cannot be brought indoors should be provided ready access to water and shade to keep them cool.
Everyone is also reminded to stay hydrated during periods extreme heat. Because bodies lose fluid through sweat, dehydration is common while experiencing very high temperatures. It is strongly encouraged to:
- Drink more water than usual.
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.
- Drink two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
- Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
- Remind others to drink enough water.