Preparing for and staying safe in extreme heat

Sep 6, 2022, 5:30 PM

The sun shines down on pedestrians as they walk across the street in Salt Lake City. With much of U...

The sun shines down on pedestrians as they walk across the street in Salt Lake City. With much of Utah under an excessive heat warning, Salt Lake City Emergency Management is reminding people to practice heat safety. (Scott G. Winterton /Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton /Deseret News)

SALT LAKE  CITY — Summer 2022 will be known as the season of extreme heat. Salt Lake City saw temperatures reach 100 degrees or greater 33 times this year and five times in the first five days of this month. In fact, 2022 was Salt Lake City’s hottest in 148 years of record-keeping, according to the National Weather Service. An expert shares tips for preparing for and being safe in triple-digit scorching  heat.

Wade Mathews, public information officer at the Utah Division of Emergency Management and Be Ready Utah, joins KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega to discuss how to protect yourself from extreme heat.

In the United States from 1999 to 2010, 8,081 heat-related deaths were reported.

According to Be Ready Utah, older adults, children and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.

Fan alone won’t do it in extreme heat

Debbie discovered on the Be Ready website what she said was an unusual fact: 

Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature or prevent heat-related illnesses.

“I thought it definitely cooled me down,” Dave said.

“It may feel that way but it’s kind of a false sense of comfort,” Mathews said. “It’s not cooling the temperature of the air around us, which is what’s important. If you added like a spritz or some misting to that–  some water, that would be cooling the air around you, cooling your body temperature, but otherwise, it feels cool, but it’s not really.”

Debbie came across an advisory from the Arizona Department of Health that recommends 1 to 2 liters of water a day if you are inside and 1 to 2 liters an hour if you are outside. A liter is about 34 ounces.

“That applies whether you’re recreating or working . . . And you should be sweating. The key is if you stop sweating in the heat, you’re approaching heatstroke,” Mathews said. 

He added if you are outside, wear a wide-brim hat, loose, light-colored clothing, sunscreen and sunglasses. 

Dave asked what the right balance is of being outdoor and indoors.

“If you’re working, you can’t really control this, but otherwise try to do the strenuous activity in the mornings and evenings when it’s cooler and shade up in the afternoon [translation: go inside where it’s cooler],” Mathews advised.

Debbie added if you are looking to get out of the house for a couple of hours, seek out a cooling center, such as a mall, movie theater or library.

Heat exhaustion and…

According to the CDC, of the heat-related illnesses, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the most serious. The symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

• Muscle cramping
• Fatigue
• Headache
• Nausea or vomiting
• Dizziness or fainting


If untreated, heat exhaustion may progress to heatstroke. Heatstroke can happen if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher. Heatstroke is a serious, life-threatening condition characterized by the following symptoms:

• Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
• Rapid, strong pulse
• Throbbing headache
• Dizziness
• Nausea
• Confusion
• Unconsciousness

Related news:

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Preparing for and staying safe in extreme heat