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Extreme heat planning: what to know

Jul 29, 2022, 15:00 PM

As the temperature climbs in Oregon, and the heat becomes extreme, everyone should have a plan on what to do to keep cool.

“Extreme heat” is a period of high heat and humidity that rises above 90 degrees for at least a two to three day stretch. In extreme heat your body works extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. And If your body is already struggling due to stress, working outside, having a cold or chronic illness, it can result in some very dangerous health situations, including death.

Making a plan

The best way to beat the heat is to make a plan and be prepared for when it arrives. You want to cool your body, cool your home, or get somewhere cool. Here are some things you should add to your plan to ensure you’re ready:

  • Learn to recognize the signs of heat illness.
  • Fans can feel good, but do not reduce your body temperature or prevent heat-related illness and should not be relied on as your primary cooling device. If you do not have an air conditioner follow some of the steps below to find places to cool down.
  • Identify places in your community where you can go to get cool, such as libraries and shopping malls or contact your local health department to find a cooling center in your area. (See the section below on cooling centers to find ones in your county)
  • Cover windows with drapes or shades.
  • Weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Use window reflectors specifically designed to reflect heat back outside.
  • Add insulation to keep the heat out.
  • Install window air conditioners and insulate around them.
  • If you are unable to afford your cooling costs, weatherization, or energy-related home repairs, contact the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for help.

Cooling centers

If you do not have air conditioning in your home, or do not have a way to get out of the heat, find a cooling center. 211 has a listing by county. Click the link below and find the nearest place to go.


Or, you can get more info/help from 211 via these other methods:

Call: 211 or 1-866-698-6155
Text: your ZIP code to 898211 (TXT211), Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
Email:, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
Phone: 24 hours per day / 7 days per week

Getting weather information

There are many places you can get information on weather during extreme heat waves. Here are both local and national lists, as well a different methods and mediums.

Oregon weather

You can get local weather information from any of the local news stations in the area. Find their website or find them on Twitter or Facebook. They will have all the info you need.

Portland metro area:

Twitter: @NWSPortland and @Multco are good sources to follow as well 

National weather This site is where most of the local stations get their information. It’s very informative and can be used to check weather conditions anywhere. You also can find them on Twitter at @NWS

Getting emergency alerts on your smart phone

You can get push notifications in cases of weather emergencies. To get emergency alerts on your smart phone, follow these steps:

For iPhone

  • Go to Settings > Connections > More Connection Settings > Wireless Emergency Alerts.
  • Then, click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner and choose Settings.
  • There, you can choose which types of Emergency Alerts you want to receive.

For Android

  • Tap “Settings" and then “Notifications."
  • Scroll to “Government Alerts” at the bottom of the screen.
  • Check that “Emergency Alerts" and “Public Safety Alerts" are turned on. The green circle indicates the alerts are on and enabled.