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How You Can Help Others Beat the Summer Heat
Donate in Your Community
- Unopened water bottles
- New underwear
- White socks
- White T-shirts
- Insect repellent
- Prepackaged snack items
- Lightweight hats
Keep an Eye Out for Children and Pets
Conduct Check-Ins with Elderly Neighbors & Family
For a variety of reasons, the elderly are among the most likely to die from heat-related illnesses. Whether they’re trying to save money by turning off the air conditioning, or simply can’t feel how warm they are getting, there are still ways you can help.
If you have elderly neighbors, check in on them once a week and ask how they’re doing. It helps if you already have an established relationship, but even if you don’t, you can always make up an excuse to stop by. If they need help pulling weeds and don’t have the stamina to stay outside long, offer to help. If you can’t offer your time, you can always contact your city’s neighborhood or human services programs to see if they offer elderly assistance for lawn maintenance – yes, some cities do offer this service!
Call and check in on elderly family members as well. If you’re able to stop by, great! You (probably) don’t need an excuse to stop by and visit family. With family members, you can be more upfront if you suspect something is wrong. If their house is too warm, ask if they’re trying to save on the A/C bill, if they need some portable fans, or if the A/C is just broken and they haven’t realized it.
Depending on how independent your neighbors and family are, they may not want you to interfere too much. However, by checking on them and letting them know you’re around to help, they’re more likely to think of you when a true emergency arises.
When in Doubt, Call 9-1-1!
Tonya@Budget and the Beach says
This is really great advice and something that is often overlooked until there is a tragedy we hear about. I was in Utah a couple weeks ago and it was “only” 103 but good lord I can’t imagine what 110 or 115 feels like. I melt when it’s 85 here.
I know! I joke all the time about melting (although sometimes it’s not a joke…) but I know I have reliable access to A/C (or at least fans). Unfortunately, like you said, a lot of people don’t have access to A/C or fans, and we don’t realize it until we hear about someone dying on the news. The heat really is a silent killer, but if we try to be aware of signs of distress from people in our community (and/or donate to heat relief organizations), it can go a long way to prevent needless suffering.
Anum @Current on Currency says
This is such an important issue that definitely should receive more awareness. My dad’s from Pakistan, and he just told me yesterday that a 150 people died in his home city because of the extreme heat (113 degrees). Breaks my heart. Thanks for sharing Melissa
Anum, I saw that too, and that plus a few deaths that have occurred (so far) in Phoenix pushed me to write this post. It’s hard to fathom when I’m sitting here, in my air conditioned house, that some people don’t have access to or money for air conditioning. Some people might say “just sit in front of a fan” but, as we saw in Pakistan and see here, it’s not that simple. It’s not just a matter of “being hot.” It’s not as simple as “sitting in front of a fan” – you also have to have electricity for a fan, and not everyone has access to or can afford consistent electricity.
Thank you so much for sharing that news with us, Anum! Heat related deaths and illnesses isn’t just a local issue – it really is global.
This was such a thoughtful post!! You’re right – most people are very lucky to have AC in their offices, cars and homes, but unfortunately not everyone has the luxury.
Great post!! Hope you are keeping cool!! 🙂
Thank you Sarah! It’s sad how easy it is to forget about others who don’t have reliable (or affordable) access to A/C. In the summer, A/C is required almost everywhere (except beach towns, I guess! :)), and it’s so expensive. It’s hard to imagine someone who can barely pay the bills also struggle with paying an inflated A/C bill. Not everyone is lucky enough to have extra money to pay higher utility bills!
Amanda @ My Life, I Guess says
I’ve called 911 on someone who left a dog in their car while at the bank. Sure enough, the owner lady came out before the police arrived. I told her I called the police on her, gave them her license plate number, etc. and that she’s lucky I didn’t break her windows. Normally I’m not a confrontational person AT ALL but when she started to give me attitude for caring about her pet more than she did, I didn’t hold back.
Amanda, that’s awesome! I honestly don’t know what I’d do in that situation, but I hope I would act like you. You never know how long someone is going to be inside a store, and it’s cruel to leave a pet or young child in a hot car. It’s better to be safe than dead :-/
Kate @ Money Propeller says
Bringing a bottled water with you is really helpful if you want to beat the heat especially when you are outside. Our summer just ended and it’s now rainy season in here, glad to know that this year was the lowest record for fatality because of heat stroke.
Oh yes, definitely bringing bottled water (and maybe a couple bottles) is helpful to have, even if you’re just running a few quick errands. You never know if you’ll get stuck behind an accident and really need water. Or run into someone who needs it more than you! I’m glad to hear this year was a record low of heat-related fatalities. Hopefully more people are helping each other out and paying attention to signs of heat illness!
Veronika Dalton says
These are some excellent tips. Over the summer, Utah was having a bunch of days in a row over 100 degrees, and I felt so bad for all of the people who would walk to work or work outside. Some poor guy working at a restaurant was standing in a big heavy costume waving a sign, and it must have been 104 degrees outside. We pulled over and gave him a granola bar and some water, and he looked like he was about to faint! That experience has now made me keep a 20-pack of water bottles in my trunk at all times.
Aaron Kriegerson says
Thanks for your tips about what you can donate to your community. You make a great point that shelters and emergency relief providers would need unopened water bottles. Should a natural disaster hit and the water service infrastructure be compromised, a lot of people are going to need a lot of safe drinking water. I’ll keep these tips in mind the next time I make a donation. Thanks.
I’m glad you found these tips helpful, Aaron! Many people forget about water bottles when they donate, but everyone needs water, so it’s something shelters won’t turn away.