The map says Northwest. But soon, the mercury will say Phoenix! With forecasts suggesting we'll hit high temps this week, we checked in with local safety experts for tips on keeping your cool:
For your family (including fur babies)
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Make sure you, your kids, and pets don't overdo it. Treats like popsicles and watermelon can help get liquid into kids who don't tend to drink as much as they should. Keep pet water bowls topped off. You've also got the ideal excuse to put off yardwork!
2. Practice screen safety. Never rely on home window screens to keep your kids inside. They push out easily and lead to 4,000 falls every year, mostly among kids under age 4. Pull furniture away from the wall so it won't make a handy "ladder."
3. Look before you lock. Changes in routine (e.g., not my normal day to drop off at daycare) can lead to tragedy if you absentmindedly leave a sleeping child or pet in the soon-to-be-sweltering car. Put your work security badge in the back seat. It will force you to turn around and look there (after all, you won't be able to get into your building without it). Also, keep car doors locked at home and the keys out of sight. About one-third of the time, kids climb into hot cars on their own.
For your home
4. Shut your home's windows and blinds during the heat of the day. Open them once you're back in the evening – and only when the outside temperature is the same or cooler than it is inside.
5. Position box fans near open windows. The fan can help draw in and circulate cooler air once the temp drops outside. BUT, if your fan has been in storage for a while, check the cord for fraying before plugging it in. Also, if you're using an extension cord, tape it to prevent tripping (never run cords under a rug).
6. Secure your home's windows with dowels or "pin" them with a nail. Police anticipate a spike in burglaries as opportunistic crooks seek out open windows for quick and quiet entry. (Never leave ground floor doors and windows open after you go to bed.) Or, if you have the time and budget, install heavy gauge screen doors with bolt locks, which are more secure than typical window screens.
7. Switch to plastic vases and pet bowls. When the sun beats down, the most unlikely objects can turn into fire-starting lenses! Keep glass vases and reading glasses off sun-soaked window sills. Ditto for your dog's water dish out on the deck.
For your car
8. Remove flammables from your trunk. That includes aerosol cans to avoid fire or explosion risks. Also, head straight home after grocery shopping to avoid food spoilage.
9. Circulate engine coolant if you're stuck in traffic. Periodically put the car in Park and gently step on the gas. Watch gauges for the first sign of overheating so you can get safely off the road.
10. Remove anything that could be damaged by the sun's heat. That includes your secret stash of '80s CDs!