PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT URGES CAUTION DURING EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH AND POTENTIAL FOR ROLLING POWER OUTAGES

(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) is urging residents to take necessary safety measures to avoid heat-related illnesses. Various parts of Santa Barbara County are under an Excessive Heat Warning or a Heat Advisory due to high temperatures from 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 5, 2020 through 8 p.m. on Sunday, September 6, 2020. Hot weather can pose a risk of heatstroke or heat exhaustion, especially to vulnerable individuals including older adults and children.

Due to high demand on the electrical grid the California Independent System Operator (ISO) has issued a statewide Flex Alert, calling for voluntary electricity conservation, beginning Saturday and extending through Monday. Labor Day weekend temperatures are forecasted to be 10-20 degrees above normal for California, and the power grid operator is predicting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use. High heat is predicted throughout the West which can limit the ISO’s ability to import energy to serve demand. During this heat event there is a potential for rolling power outages. These rotating outage events are not considered PSPS.  For more information on what to do before, during, and after a power outage visit ReadySBC.org.

the ISO is urging consumers to:

  • Set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees, if health permits.
  • Defer use of major appliances.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights.
  • Unplug unused electrical devices.
  • Close blinds and drapes.
  • Use fans when possible.
  • Limit time the refrigerator door is open.

While it remains critical for everyone to practice safe social distancing and to avoid large groups during this COVID-19 pandemic, in order to protect your health and safety during this high-heat event, the PHD encourages individuals to take any immediate actions needed to protect their health, such as locating an air-conditioned space. If you do seek air-conditioned locations outside of your home, continue to wear face coverings and maintain at least six feet apart from others. If you have symptoms or are COVID-19 positive, do not relocate to an air-conditioned space that is shared by others outside your home, and call your health care provider for concerns you may have regarding the effects of heat on your health.

Community members are strongly encouraged to take the following precautions whenever temperatures are on the rise:

  • Take care of those who might not be aware of the danger or be able to react accordingly – especially the elderly, young children, and pets. Check on your neighbors.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Lightweight, light-colored, loose fitting clothing works best.
  • Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages, especially those without sugar or caffeine. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. If you have fluid restrictions from your doctor, ask to see how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Limit outdoor activity. Try to schedule outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day, like morning and evening hours. Be sure to wear sunscreen and rest often.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned room. A few hours in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler. Taking a cool shower or bath can help too.
  • For those who work outside, be sure to take frequent rest breaks in a shaded area or air-conditioned room, if possible. Stay hydrated and take action by moving to a cooler space if you feel signs of heat exhaustion.
  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion. If someone becomes dizzy, nauseated, or sweats heavily, find a cooler location for him or her immediately.
  • Know the signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. The symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but also include hot, flushed skin. With heat stroke, the person often stops sweating and the skin will be unusually dry. If heat stroke is a possibility, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is life threatening!
  • Do not leave children (and pets) unattended in vehicles. It only takes a matter of minutes on a relatively mild day for a vehicle to reach deadly temperatures.

Stay Connected:
County Public Health: www.PublicHealthSBC.org, Twitter and Facebook
County of Santa Barbara: www.CountyofSB.org, Twitter, Facebook
Santa Barbara County Call Center: (833) 688 – 5551
Community Wellness Team Information and Referral Line: (805) 364-2750