County of Marin Health and Human Services

Staying Cool and Safe in Warm Weather

Prevent Heat-related Emergencies


Mát Mẻ và An Toàn


  • Plan ahead and check the weather forecast to prepare for hot days.
  • Prepare for power outages during heat events.
  • Have a buddy system: During a heat wave, check on medically vulnerable family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Go to a cool place like a mall or library.

Learn more about Summer Safety Tips.

Cooling Tips

  • Slow down. Plan outdoor activities before noon or in the evening.
    • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a wide brimmed hat. Use sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Take cool baths or showers.
  • Place a damp towel around your shoulders to reduce body heat.

Keep Your House Cool

Learn How to Create an Energy Efficient Home

  • If air conditioning must be used, shut doors to unused rooms. Keep AC thermostats set at 78 F degrees or higher when home.
  • If air conditioning is not being used, stay on the lowest floor.
    • Use an energy-efficient fan. Set up your fans in windows or hallways so you can create a cross breeze that will draw in cooler air from the outside (or a cooler part of the house) to the warm areas
      • Fan Hack: Fill a mixing bowl with ice or an ice pack, and put the bowl in front of a fan. Turn the fan on, and the air will mimic a chilly, misty breeze.
    • Consider energy-efficient window coverings.
  • Keep shades down and blinds closed, but windows slightly open. If safe, leave windows open at night.
  • Switch off unnecessary lights.
  • Keep many bottles of water in the refrigerator.
  • Bake and wash at night.  Use your microwave to heat food instead of your oven. Large appliances give off significant amounts of heat.

Safety Tips

  • Air out hot cars before getting into them.
  • Drink more fluids than usual even if you do not feel thirsty. Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine; they increase the heat's effects on your body.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increases metabolic heat.
  • Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • If you take diuretics, ask your healthcare provider about a lower dosage during hot weather.

Warning Signs of Heat Problems

For more information phone: 415 473-INFO (4636)

Heat Exhaustion

When body fluids are lost though heavy sweating, blood flow to vital organs is reduced. This results in a mild form of shock. If not treated, the victim may suffer heat stroke.


  • Cool, moist, pale or flushed skin
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Exhaustion
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting

Get the person to a cooler place. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths and ice packs. If the person is conscious, give cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is life-threatening. The victim's temperature control system, which produces sweat to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may occur.


  • Hot, red skin
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Little or no sweating
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Changes in consciousness
  • High body temperature

Call 911 or a doctor. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body. Immerse victim in a cool bath, or wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it. Use ice packs. Watch for signals of breathing problems. Keep the person lying down and continue to cool the body. If the victim refuses water or is vomiting, or there are changes in the level of consciousness, do not give anything to eat or drink.