Extreme Heat Alerts; High Temperatures Unsafe for Young Children, Vulnerable Adults and Animals

county offers tips on surviving the heat

County officials urge residents to take precautions to protect themselves, and their loved ones, against heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

A Extreme Heat Alert is issued for the County when forecasted temperatures, and/or heat index, in at least part of the County is at least 95 degrees or higher creating a hazardous situation in which heat-stroke and heat exhaustion are likely.

Heat Emergency Alert could be issued for the County when dangerously hot conditions are present, including, but not limited to, temperatures and/or heat index reaching 105 degrees for a period of at least two days or longer for which it will be dangerous to anyone exposed to the heat for an extended period of time.

Residents are also asked to check on elderly friends, relatives and neighbors who may be isolated, to ensure they are not showing signs of heat-related illnesses.

Homeless Services

Residents concerned about the well-being of a homeless individual can call the 24-hour Line at 240-907-2688. Outreach partners will attempt to locate the individual and offer resources and support.

Animal Services

white dogMontgomery County’s Office of Animal Services reminds community members to be especially careful with all pets during times of increased heat. Animals that are outdoors must have access to shade, shelter, and plenty of fresh water. When possible, it is advised to bring typically outdoor pets inside during periods of extreme heat.

  • Pet Safety: Montgomery County’s Office of Animal Services will be enforcing Executive Regulation 17-17, Anti-Cruelty Conditions for Dogs, Section D, which states, "In the event of an extreme weather situation or weather emergency, owners must not leave a pet unattended outdoors. Under Executive Regulations 17-17, the Director of the Montgomery County Police Department, Animal Services Division, has the authority to enforce Anti Cruelty Conditions for Dogs and Other Pets.  Pet owners are advised to be particularly careful with pets in vehicles during high outdoor temperatures and be familiar with the signs of heat stress. " The penalty for this violation is a fine of $500. This regulation will be enforced whenever forecast temperatures could endanger the well-being of dogs. Also in Executive Regulation 17-17, Owners are advised not to leave pets unattended outdoors during Extreme Heat Alerts. See more information about animal control and anti-cruelty laws.

Hot Weather Safety Tips

The following precautions will help residents remain safe and more comfortable during excessive heat days:

  • drinking watersStay indoors, whenever possible. Keep in mind: Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they may not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a better way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.  Visit nearby air-conditioned buildings in your community if your home is not air-conditioned. County facilities, including libraries, swimming pools, recreation centers and senior centers are places to cool off during normal operating hours. Public locations such as indoor malls could also be utilized.
  • Be careful to avoid strenuous activities that can result in overexposure to the sun, such as sports and gardening. If you must do a strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning before 9 a.m.
  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration, cramps, exhaustion or heat stroke can result from not drinking enough fluids. Water is the safest liquid to drink.
  • Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.
  • When outdoors, wear proper protection from the sun. Light-colored clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen protection are strongly recommended.
  • Never leave pets, young children, or the elderly in a vehicle for ANY amount of time, even with the window open, because the temperature inside parked cars can reach 130 degrees in only a few minutes.
  • Monitor those at high risk. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
    • Infants and children up to four years of age;
    • Individuals 65 years of age and older;
    • Individuals who are ill or on certain medications; and
    • Individuals who are overweight.

Signs of Heat Exposure

Knowing the signs of heat exposure can prevent a life-threatening situation. Should any of the following occur, get out of the heat, loosen any tight or heavy clothing and drink plenty of water:

  • Heat cramps: symptoms include painful muscle spasms, usually involving the abdominal muscles or legs;
  • Heat exhaustion: first signs are cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, dizziness, nausea, headache and weakness; 
  • Heat stroke: the most serious sign of overexposure. Symptoms include red, hot, dry skin, weak pulse, rapid breathing and changes in consciousness. Seek medical attention by calling 9-1-1.

For More Information:

For general information about County programs and services, call 3-1-1. Sign up for the County's Alert Montgomery notification system at alert.montgomerycountymd.gov to receive emergency alerts regarding weather and other emergency information.