August 12, 2021
Today, the National Weather Service issued both an Excessive Heat Warning and an Air Quality Alert for Skagit County and the surrounding region. The Excessive Heat Warning is expected to be in effect through Friday at 8pm, and the Air Quality Alert through Saturday at 7pm.
Dangerously hot conditions with temperatures rising into the 90s to near 100 degrees is expected for Thursday and Friday, with highs remaining near 90 on Saturday. Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities.
The Washington State Department of Health is advising people to take precautions during this extreme heat event. In Skagit County, there are several Cooling Stations available to people who are seeking relief. A list of locations can be found on our website at www.skagitcounty.net.
Other key recommendations for heat safety include:
- Stay indoors and in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible. Consider wearing a mask whenever you’re indoors with people who don’t live with you.
- Keep your home cool by pulling window shades closed throughout the day. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
- Do not rely on a fan as your only cooling source. While electric fans might provide some comfort, they won’t prevent heat-related illness when temperatures are very hot.
- Check on your friends, family and neighbors before bedtime. The heat isn’t expected to dip at night, so people who need help may not realize it until much later in the day. Assist those who are vulnerable or at higher risk, neighbors who are elderly, ill or may need help.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids but don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Keep outdoor pets safe in the heat, make sure they have protection from heat. Walk on grass instead of asphalt, which can burn your pet’s paws. Never leave any person or pet in a parked vehicle.
- If you notice symptoms of heat illness (dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps), act immediately. Move to a cooler location to rest for a few minutes and seek medical attention immediately if you do not feel better.
- Follow water safety tips if you go swimming or boating. Remember that swimming in open water is very different from swimming in a pool and make sure to wear a life jacket that fits you.
Adding to this weekend’s safety concerns, people must take precaution when spending time outdoors. The Northwest Clean Air Agency is currently reporting “Unhealthy” air quality for Sensitive Groups for parts of Skagit County.
The following are health safety tips for periods of poor, or unhealthy, air quality:
- Avoid outdoor physical activity.
- Stay indoors and take steps to keep your indoor air as clean as possible.
- Keep windows and doors closed.
- Improve the filtration indoors. See the EPA’s Indoor Air Filtration Factsheet for information.
- Set air conditioners to re-circulate.
- Don’t add to indoor pollution (avoid burning candles or incense, smoking, diffusing essential oils, broiling or frying foods, and vacuuming)
- Consider leaving the area if the air quality remains poor and it is not possible to keep the air in your home clean.
- It’s often hot when it’s smoky outside. Pay attention to heat and signs of overheating.
- Use portable fans and close curtains or window shades during the day.
- If you can’t keep cool and do have a way to filter the air in your home (see below), open windows when it’s coolest and run a portable HEPA or box fan filter to help clean the air.
- If it’s still too hot, and you don’t have options to filter air, open windows to avoid heat exhaustion and other heat illnesses.
Read CDC’s list of frequently asked questions regarding extreme heat here.
For more smoke safety tips, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/wildfires/index.html