July 11, 2007

Beat the Heat

By Senator Lena C. Taylor

Summer can be a fun and adventurous time for us and our families.  Cookouts, bike-rides, and visits to the area pool provide a welcome relief after months of winter weather.  Yet summer can also be a dangerous time, especially for our children and elderly.  Each year thousands of people fall victim to heat stroke, and other extreme heat-related illnesses.

As the temperature rises, there are a number of things you can do to help your family and neighbors stay safe. 

  • Never leave children, elderly, disabled people, or pets in a car!  Not even for a short time.  The heat in your car can reach unsafe levels in just minutes. 

  • Drink plenty of fluids…and eat lightly.  Drink water frequently throughout the day.  Bring liquids with you when you go running, biking, or participate in any other physical activity.

  • Cool down your house.  Cover windows to keep out the sun.  If you don’t have air-conditioning use fans to circulate the air.  When it gets above 95 degrees use fans to blow the hot air OUT of your house, not in.

  • Check in on elderly and disabled neighbors.  If you have older individuals or people with disabilities living near you, check in on them from time to time.  They may need help turning on fans, air-conditioning, or getting the right fluids.


*** Isolated elderly or disabled persons in Milwaukee County can enroll in the Daily Telephone Reassurance Program of the Milwaukee County Department on Aging (289-6874). They will phone daily during a Heat Health Event to make sure the person is doing OK.***


  • Kids cool down at a free summer playground.  On days when the temperature reaches above 85, the City of Milwaukee will attach sprinklers to several fire hydrants at various playgrounds around the city.  For more information on locations of these, call 475-8811.

  • Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen!  If you or your kids plan on being outside for any amount of time, use plenty of sunscreen.  The hot summer sun can do a great deal of damage to your skin, and can cause skin cancer. 

  • Talk to WE Energies. When the heat index rises above 100, WE Energies will reconnect utilities for individuals with a disability or other health related condition.   Call 800-242-9137 for more information.

  • If you do begin to feel the effects of the heat, including dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, or unconsciousness, please seek help immediately.

Numbers to Call for Help

211 Milwaukee at IMPACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  211

A central access point for information about services available in the community

City of Milwaukee Health Department Heat Line . . . . . . . . 286-3616 (TTY 286-2025)

ElderLink (24 hours) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289-6874 (TTY 289-8591)

Assistance and information for adults aged 60 and over