D.C. Declares Extended Heat Emergency, Gives Precautions

Citizens are urged to use cooling centers and take precautions to avoid the impact of extreme heat on health from July 5 to July 9

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With temperatures expected to exceed 95°F, Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared an Extended Heat Emergency for Washington, D.C., effective through July 9 or until conditions improve.

Residents and visitors are advised to take precautions against heat-related illnesses, check on vulnerable neighbors, prioritize staying and keeping pets indoors, and increase healthy fluid intake. 

Bowser, in the press release, assures that additional outreach teams will conduct welfare checks during this emergency and encourage indoor heat relief. Cooling buses will be deployed across the city. Residents are urged to stay cool and check on vulnerable neighbors. 

Those without air conditioning are also advised to seek relief in air-conditioned public spaces or cooling centers available throughout the city for those seeking relief from the heat. Low-barrier shelters for those without homes remain open as always with no entry restrictions. 

The press release emphasizes the importance of these provisions to protect citizens from the significant effects of excess heat on mental health and behavior. Heat may increase irritability, depression symptoms, and suicide risk. The heat can also lead to heightened aggression, impulsivity, and substance abuse. Those with pre-existing mental health conditions face greater risks during heatwaves, particularly individuals with dementia who are more prone to hospitalization and death. 

Certain psychiatric medications, including some antidepressants and antipsychotics, can interfere with the body’s temperature regulation, elevating the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  crucial to maintain your prescribed treatment plan and consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about heat-related risks.

Recall that Washington experienced a heatwave in the middle of June.

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