Heat Wave Safety Reminder

Friday, July 6, 2012 - 7:10am

Being Neighborly can Save a Life

The National Weather Service has just announced that the excessive heat warning has been extended to 7pm Saturday (July 7th). However the impact of this heat could last for several more days beyond the warning period. Apartments or houses without air conditioning can stay hot for a few days, so there is still the risk for heat related illness even after the outside temperature drops.

For these reasons, it is still important to look out for neighbors who might be shy about asking for help. There are a few clues that a neighbor is in trouble. Please check to see if your neighbor is OK if you see any of these:

• If you see a growing pile of newspapers at the front door of an elderly neighbor.
• If their trash container is not there on collection day, or if the trash cans remains on the street after collection day
• Mail piling up in a mailbox
• If you normally see a neighbor walking a dog at the same time every day, and they don't show up one day.
• Making a delivery for meals on wheels or medical equipment or supplies and no one answers the door.

If you are concerned about a neighbor, knock on that person's door. No answer may mean nothing, but it could also mean that the person inside has been incapacitated by the heat. In that case, first check with other neighbors, and then call 9-1-1. One of their specially trained communicators will be able to help you determine what type of assistance is required.

One of the major lessons learned from the Mid-West heat wave of 1995, was that the death rate from heat-related causes was much higher in neighborhoods where people kept to themselves. The death rate was much lower in neighborhoods where people knew each other and talked. During a heat wave of this magnitude, being neighborly can save lives.

For more information on the impact of heat on people, check the following links:



Public Health - Madison & Dane County


  • Jeff Golden(608) 243-0302