Weather Related Health Message

Extreme Weather Checklist

A variety of weather situations can have an impact of an outdoor event. Please consult this checklist to see if there are things you need to consider for your event to keep your attendees safe and healthy.

Extreme Heat

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
  • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, shopping malls, and other community facilities.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
  • Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Avoid strenuous work/exercise during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
  • Please be aware that heat exposure is cumulative and repeated exposure will reduce the time you can spend in the sun without feeling the effects.
National Environment Public Health Tracking Network
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Flash Flooding / Turn Around, Don’t Drown

  • Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Turn Around Don't Drown
  • Roadbeds may be washed out under flood waters. Never drive though flooded roadways. If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately and get to higher ground.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
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Exposure to Flood Waters

  • Flood waters are likely to contain sewage as well as gasoline, solvents and other chemicals.
  • Avoid contact with flood waters if at all possible.
  • Individuals exposed to flood waters should take a bath or shower with clean water and soap.
  • Clean clothing and other belongings by laundering.
  • If you have open cuts exposed to flood water, wash with soap and disinfected water and apply antibiotic ointment. If redness, swelling or drainage of the wound occurs, see a physician.

Clearing Standing Water - Preventing mosquito borne illnesses - Five D’s

  • Dusk and Dawn-Avoid these times to be outdoors when mosquitoes are feeding.
  • Dress- Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.
  • DEET - Use repellants containing DEET if you are outdoors.
  • Drainage- rid areas around your home of standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs.
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Extreme Cold

  • Watch for Signs of Frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
  • If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of  heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. 
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack - a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
  • Keep an eye on neighbors, particularly those who are elderly, who are caring for young children or living alone.  Offer to assist with trips to the grocery, medical appointments or other errands.
  • If a home loses power, close off unneeded rooms and and have family members congregate in the warmest room with a supply of blankets to help conserve the heat in the house.
  • Do not use candles for light. Candles are a leading cause of house fires. Instead, stock battery-operated lights, such as flashlights, and a good supply of batteries.
  • Keep a battery-operated radio and batteries on hand to stay abreast of news and information. Keep cell phones fully charged.
  • Do not leave pets outdoors for a long time during cold weather.  Pets can suffer hypothermia and serious illness, so do everything possible to keep them safe and warm.


  • Power outages and flooding can cause electrical hazards.
  • Never touch or approach a downed power line or anything in contact with 1.
  • If a power line falls on your car, remain inside unless the car catches fire or authorities tell you to get out.
  • Do not touch a person who has been electrocuted without making sure the person is no longer in contact with the electrical source.
  • Do not operate electrical breakers or other devices while standing in or near water.
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Carbon Monoxide

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas and is highly poisonous.
  • Portable gasoline powered generators, can produce high levels of CO quickly.
  • Liquid propane or natural gas fueled fireplaces, grills, lanterns or stoves can also produce high levels of CO quickly.
  • Never use any gasoline, natural or LP gas equipment indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces and other enclosed areas even with ventilation.
  • Locate unit outdoors away from doors, windows, vents and air conditioning units.
  • If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away. Do not delay.
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Safety of Drinking Water

  • Listen for public announcements about the safety of municipal water supplies.
  • Assume that private wells that have lost pressure or been flooded are contaminated and contact the local health department for testing.
  • Use bottled or stored water for cooking and drinking until the water supply has been proven to be uncontaminated.
  • Water can be disinfected by bringing it to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute. Babies and pregnant women should not consume boiled water as boiling can concentrate nitrates.
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Mental Health

  • It is normal to feel anxious about you and your family.
  • Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event.
  • Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy.
  • If you feel like completely giving up and are having thoughts of suicide get help by phone at 301-662-2255 (Frederick County Hotline). If a phone is not available make contact with others and state your feelings.
  • Local disaster workers can assist you.
  • Keep as many elements of your normal routine as possible, including activities to calm children's fears.
  • Frederick County, MD citizens, dial 211 for additional information and resources.
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Infectious Diseases

  • Outbreaks of diarrhea and respiratory illness can occur when water and sewage systems are not working and hand-washing facilities are not readily available
    • If you develop diarrhea with vomiting or fever, drink extra fluids and seek medical evaluation.
  • Widespread outbreaks of infectious diseases after hurricanes are rare in the United States.
  • Rare and deadly exotic diseases, such as cholera or typhoid, do not suddenly break out after hurricanes and floods in areas where such diseases do not naturally occur.
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Sanitation & Hygiene - Preventing Waterborne Illnesses

  • Always wash hands with soap and clean water before eating, after clean up activities, handling articles contaminated by floodwater and bathroom use.
  • Assume that everything touched by flood waters has been contaminated and must be disinfected or thrown away. Remove and discard items that can’t be readily disinfected such as cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottles, pacifiers, mattresses, padded furniture, carpet and padding.

Food Safety - Preventing Food Borne Illnesses

  • Do not eat food that has come in contact with flood waters.
  • When power is out, thawed and refrigerated foods should be thrown out after 4 hours.
  • While the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • Add block ice or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity is expected to be off longer than 4 hours. Wear heavy gloves when handling ice.
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  • Tetanus is a serious, often fatal disease that is virtually 100% preventable with vaccination.
  • Tetanus is a potential health threat for persons who sustain wound injuries.
  • If you sustain a wound or deep cut, seek medical attention. A medical provider will determine if a tetanus booster is needed.
  • Individuals who have not had a cut or wound do not require tetanus vaccination regardless of their exposure to flood waters.


  • Walls, floors, and other hard surfaces should be cleaned with soap; and disinfected with a solution of 1 cup of bleach to 4 gallons of water.
  • Surfaces that may come in contact with food should be carefully disinfected with a bleach solution.
  • Wash all linens and clothing in hot water and detergent or dry clean them.
  • Discard contaminated articles that cannot be washed properly.
  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
  • Wash hands with soap and water. Use water that has been boiled for 1 minute, allow the water to cool.
  • You may use water that has been disinfected for personal hygiene with 1/8 teaspoon of household bleach per 1 gallon of water. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  • If soap and water are not available for hand washing, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer with at least 70% ethanol.


  • Molds can cause disease, or trigger allergic reactions. Failure to control moisture and mold can present short and long term health risks.
  • If mold growth has already occurred, carefully remove or clean the moldy material. Persistent mold growth may require professional removal.
  • Individuals with known mold allergies or asthma should not clean or remove moldy materials.
  • When cleaning open windows and doors to provide plenty of fresh air.


  • Carry a list of all prescription and over the counter medications you are currently taking . This list should include:
    • Your name
    • Any allergies to medications or food
    • Name and dosage of current medications (prescription and over the counter)
  • You may be unable to obtain help from a pharmacy or doctor for some time after a disaster.
  • You should keep at least a 3 to 7 day supply of prescription medications available in the event of an emergency. This emergency supply can be kept with all of your medications in a box or bag that can be taken with you quickly.
  • Know the weight and allergies of your children. This information may be important if your children need medications.
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