When the power goes out during the heat of the day, things will start to heat up quickly. Though otherwise healthy people can usually handle some heat, this isn’t true for everyone. The very young, the elderly, and even the sick rely on air conditioning to keep them healthy. Here are some emergency cooling options you can consider during a power outage.
#1 – Cool Baths and Showers
When there’s no power, the heat can quickly become oppressive. Just like you might go to the pool or the lake to swim to stay cool, you can do the same at home. Swap your normally warm showers and baths for cool ones, instead. Make sure they’re lukewarm and not downright cold. This can create shock and cause problems for people who have certain health conditions. For younger kids, this can be a fun playtime activity, too. Baths and showers are commonly overlooked emergency cooling options that can help you stay comfortable.
#2 – Cold Towels
During a power outage, you should keep your freezer door closed at all costs. However, if you have an ice dispenser, it’s one of the most accessible emergency cooling options available to you. Put some ice water in a large bowl or bucket, then dip towels, cloths, or even t-shirts in the water. Drape these wet cloths over your body to help wick away heat. Focus on your head, hands, and feet for the most comfort, and dip the cloth back in the water when it no longer feels cool.
#3 – Open the Windows
While you might not think that opening the windows is going to do much when it’s stifling hot and humid outside, it could save lives. When you’re stuck inside your home without airflow, your sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly, and this can lead to overheating. Opening the windows allows for at least some airflow, which is by far better than none. It’s one of the most effective emergency cooling options. It also prevents your home from the “oven” effect; this simply means that it allows the buildup of heat to escape outside.
#4 – Visit a Cooling Shelter
When there are widespread power outages in Florida caused by severe weather or other unforeseeable events, many churches, community centers, and other facilities that still have power will open their doors to the public so they can come inside and cool down. If you have no other options, this is a great idea. Some of these centers will even allow you to bring your pets along, too, if they’re in carriers or on leashes. These emergency cooling options may also be sponsored by groups like the Red Cross; listen to the radio for information.
#5 – Use a Generator with a Window Unit
If you haven’t already invested in a small generator and the fuel to power it, now’s a good time to consider it. Most household emergency generators won’t power your central air conditioner, but in a pinch, you can connect it to a window unit in a small room of your home to stay cool. If you don’t have a window air conditioner, put a box fan behind a bowl of ice water and turn it on high. This can help absorb some of the heat and humidity from the room, and while it’s not as efficient as an air conditioner, it’s one of the simplest and most effective emergency cooling options.
While these emergency cooling options won’t keep you as cool and comfortable as your central air conditioner, they’re far better than nothing. Combining them can not only help you get through a power outage in the Florida heat unscathed, but it can also save lives.