Staying Safe During the Heat

King County Public Health Info


Greetings Community Partners,

Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 80s and low 90s starting Wednesday, August 11. In some parts of the King County, it could reach the upper 90s and possibly higher on Thursday and Friday. We may see some wildfire smoke, but Puget Sound Clean Air Agency predicts that it may stay high in the atmosphere and may not reach unhealthy levels.

Please share information about how to stay safe in the heat with your networks.


Hospitals in our region see an increase of people with heat stroke and also heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure on hot days.

People who are at highest risk for serious health problems in the heat include:

  • People who have medical conditions or take medications that make it harder to regulate body temperature. Encourage people to talk to their healthcare providers to see if their conditions or medications put them at higher risk.
  • People age 65 and older
  • Outdoor workers
  • Children

King County and local cities will open cooling centers. Information on cooling centers can be found on the King County Emergency Blog.

How to stay safe in the heat:

  • Drink water frequently, even if you’re not thirsty.
  • NEVER leave children, pets, or people with limited mobility in a parked car, not even for a minute! Cars get dangerously hot in seconds!
  • Limit the time you spend in direct sunlight as much as possible. Take breaks in the shade to cool off.
  • If you get hot at home, if possible, spend time in places with air-conditioning, like malls, a “cooling center” set up in cities around King County, movie theaters (if you’re vaccinated), or a friend’s home if they have air-conditioning. Playing in fountains, wading pools, and sprinklers can also help cool you down. Wear a mask in public indoor places, even if you’re vaccinated, to protect from the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID.
  • Take a cool shower or bath, or place cool washcloths on your skin.
  • Check up on your elderly neighbors and relatives.
  • Employers should plan for frequent breaks and plenty of water for outdoor workers to prevent heat illnesses.

More tips and information in multiple languages at

Wildfire Smoke

Take these steps to protect your health on smoky days:

  • Check the air quality forecast. Air quality conditions may change quickly. Go to Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s website ( or follow them on Twitter (@pscleanair) for the current smoke level report for King County.
  • Stay indoors when possible when the air quality is unhealthy for you.
  • Limit vigorous physical activity outdoors (including running, biking, physical labor, and sports) when the air quality is poor.
  • Keep indoor air clean.
    • Close windows and doors as much as possible. Heat is a danger too, so if it’s too hot with the windows closed, open them for a little while to cool the room off.
    • Use an air cleaner with a HEPA filter if possible
    • Use fans or an air conditioner (AC) when it’s hot, if possible. Set your AC to recirculate.
    • A DIY air cleaner may be an easy and cost-effective way to clean air inside your home. Information on how to construct a portable air cleaner and important safety tips to follow while using one of these fans can be found at Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s DIY Air Filter website.
  • If your health conditions get worse around smoke, contact your health care provider. Call 9-1-1 if you or someone else has serious symptoms, like trouble breathing.

More information in 25 languages:


Short messages for social media and other sharing

Download the excel spreadsheets below for short basic messages in 10 languages about staying safe in the heat and smoke in 18 languages. Please feel free to share these messages on Twitter, Facebook, What’s App, or however else you communicate with others in your community.

Heat Messages (Excel)

Wildfire Smoke alerts (Excel)

“Stay Safe in the heat” comic strip

Public Health’s blog has illustrated information as a comic strip to help people know who is at higher risk, how to recognize heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and tips for staying cool. This blog is also available in Spanish.

Information about wildfire smoke on the Public Health Insider blog

Wildfire season is coming — get smoke ready! – PUBLIC HEALTH INSIDER/2021 野火烟雾应对准备 2021 野火煙霧應對準備 | Saber Cómo Prepararse para el Humo de los Incendios Forestales del 2021 2021 Cảnh Giác Về Khói Lửa Cháy Rừng

Get all the updates from King County

Follow the King County Emergency News blog for more information about heat and other emergencies.

*For the quickest updates on critical life-safety information, please encourage enrollment in ALERT King County and ALERT Seattle for timely alerts via text/email.*