GREENSBURG – With the season’s first wave of oppressive heat and humidity here, the FEMA Region 5 office in Chicago is encouraging residents to avoid the dangers of extreme heat by taking some simple steps to stay safe.

“We all need to take precautions when temperatures soar to potentially dangerous highs,” said Tom Sivak, FEMA Region 5 acting regional administrator. “Extreme heat makes the body work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Regularly check yourself and those you care about—especially children, older adults and pets—for the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and be ready to respond to them.”

After weeks of comfortable temperatures, don’t be caught unaware as highs spike this week.

Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illness and recommended first aid steps.

Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun. If you don’t have access to air-conditioning at home, find places in your community with AC, such as a local cooling center.

Keep your home as cool as possible. Roughly 40% of unwanted heat buildup in our homes is through windows. Use awnings or curtains to keep the heat out, and check the weather stripping on doors and windows to keep the cool air in.

If you must be outside, find shade. Avoid strenuous activity, cover your head with a hat wide enough to protect your face and wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Never leave people or pets in a parked car.

For more information and tips on being ready for extreme heat, visit www.ready.gov/heat.

Saving Energy

Duke Energy is providing tips and tools to help customers save energy – and money – while trying to stay cool.

High temperatures bring higher usage for customers, which can translate into higher bills.

Here are some simple tips that can help energy users manage their bill and save money.

Change air filters regularly. A dirty air filter makes an HVAC system work harder, which uses more energy.

Set your thermostat at the highest comfortable setting. The smaller the difference between the inside and outside temperatures, the lower your energy usage and bill will be.

Close blinds, drapes and curtains during the hottest part of the day. Keeping your blinds, drapes and curtains closed will help prevent the sun’s rays from heating your house.

Use a ceiling fan in occupied rooms to supplement your air-conditioning. Make sure the fans are set to operate in a counterclockwise direction to push cool air down into living spaces. Only use ceiling fans in rooms that are occupied; fans cool people, not things.

Grill outdoors. Using your electric oven and stovetop creates a lot of indoor heat. Help save energy by firing up the grill outdoors or prepare meals that don’t require cooking.

Turn off unnecessary lights. Be sure to turn off lights when you leave a room. Lights emit heat and cause your air conditioning system to work harder.

Manage Usage

Energy use typically spikes in the summer since air-conditioning is one of the biggest energy users in your home. Customers can also easily track and adjust their usage during this week’s heat wave.

Customers with smart meters can check online to view their daily usage. Smart meters collect usage information by the hour, so checking spikes throughout the month – by day and even hour – can show what appliances and behaviors are increasing their bills. Video available here.

Duke Energy customers with smart meters can also receive usage alerts through email and/or text halfway through their billing cycle, well before their bill arrives, with their current usage amount and a projection of what their final monthly bill could be.

Customers can also set budget alerts, so they know when their bill reaches a specific dollar amount of their choosing, allowing them to adjust their usage and help save money on their bill.

Customers without smart meters can sign up to receive high bill alerts for when adverse weather is projected to increase their electric bills by at least 30% and $30 compared to historical usage.

Other energy-saving programs, tips and guidance to help you manage higher energy bills that can result from increased energy is available at duke-energy.com/Summer.

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