Keeping cool in Illinois
Easy tips to stay safe during July's heat wave.
Friday, July 22, 2011 - 01:31
KEEP COOL, KEEP SAFE: Don't let the hot weather catch you off guard. (Photo: mrhayata/Flickr)
We're suffering quite the heat wave in Illinois this July, and I must say that I'm pretty thankful I'm not participating in the no A/C challenge. Call me a whimp, because I certainly am one.
I didn't realize how much damage the high temperatures could do until I was driving home from work Tuesday night. Just outside Galesburg, the pavement on Highway 34 had buckled so badly it was like a knee-high speed bump lying in wait for some unsuspecting victim to bottom out their car.
Luckily, it wasn’t me — the authorities were already in action (bless them for working in this weather), but a touch down the road another giant bubble had formed. I felt like we were living in an earthquake zone. So beware of the asphalt as the heat index continues to top 100 each day.
While we must take good care of ourselves this week, don't forget to help those who can't help themselves. Check in on your elderly neighbors, as they are very vulnerable to the heat. Keep kids hydrated if they are playing outside. And please remember the animals in your life. If you keep Scruffy on a chain in the backyard, this would be an excellent time to bring him inside or find ways to help him cool off. Even staying in the basement will offer him great relief from the outside temperatures. Many websites have good tips for keeping cool and healthy (by eating the right foods and preparing your home) and protecting your family and pets against heat stroke.
What do these high temperatures mean for Illinois? Besides running the air conditioners and fans on high, we need to conserve our energy usage to avoid blackouts. Keep your appliances off during the hottest parts of the day when so much electricity is being pulled to cool down buildings. Pulling your curtains shut to keep out the sun and block the cooler air from leaking out the windows will make your air conditioning work better. Turn your lights off during the day to save electricity and keep your house cooler.
And don't forget to thank the people around you who are working outside: the road construction teams, landscapers, emergency personnel, air conditioning repairmen, mail delivery people, even the local paper boy. No job is easy in this heat. Let's take care of each other and make sure no one hits that wave in the pavement head on!
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