For the over 1500 DC residents experiencing chronic homelessness, the summer heat is nearly inescapable. As Stephanie Lyons, an outreach worker at campaign partner Pathways to Housing and Way Home Campaign leader notes, “the heat can be deadly.” Check out this City Paper article on the dangers of heat that highlights our campaign partners at Unity Health Care!
Here are three concrete steps to ensure the safety of our neighbors:
1) Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
- Indicators of heat exhaustion are: dark colored urine, pale skin, profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat, muscle or abdominal cramps, dizziness, confusion, and fainting.
- If left unaddressed, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, a medical emergency. Symptoms include throbbing headaches, red, hot, and dry skin, lack of sweating despite the heat, muscle weakness or cramps, rapid heartbeat, rapid, shallow breathing, seizures, and unconsciousness.
2) Know what to do
- If you see someone experiencing or at risk for a heat emergency, express concern and offer to call the Hyperthermia Hotline (1-800-535-7252 or 211). They can provide transportation to cooling stations or shelters.
- If someone is experiencing heat stroke, call 911.
- Help folks stay hydrated! Spending a dollar or two on a water bottle or getting a free cup of water from a friendly restaurant can help folks beat the heat.
3) Advocate with us!
· Ending chronic homelessness is urgent, possible, and cost-effective. Make sure that you have signed the pledge to end chronic homelessness in DC, and stay tuned for updates and action alerts.