For immediate release: 02/09/2022
California state parks urge public to take precautions during heatwave
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—California State Parks urges visitors to avoid strenuous recreational activities and to plan ahead, as some parks may need to relocate operations to protect public safety during the heat wave. Activities such as running, walking or hiking in high temperatures can be extremely dangerous and even deadly.
California has been experiencing excessive heat this week, with temperatures across the state reaching 10 to 20 degrees above normal. Forecasts for today, this Labor Day weekend and into next week point to more dramatic high temperatures.
The intense heat is dangerous for everyone and can be fatal, especially when extreme temperatures last for more than two days. High body temperature can damage the brain and other vital organs, according to the California Department of Public Health. Certain health conditions can make it harder for the body to stay cool in hot weather. These include old age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, poor circulation, sunburn, and drug and alcohol use.
To prevent heat-related illness when recreating outdoors, follow these important steps to stay safe:
- Know before you go – Before leaving the house, check status of the park unit you wish to visit for current restrictions and guidelines. This is important, as state parks may temporarily relocate operations to protect public safety during the heat wave. Also have a backup plan in case your destination is crowded.
- playing it safe – Plan activities for the cooler times of the day. Stay in the shade, especially during the peak hours of the sun. Activities such as running, walking or hiking in high temperatures can be extremely dangerous and even deadly.
- Dress up and prepare for the weather – Dress in loose, lightweight, light-coloured clothing. Protect yourself from the sun with hats, sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Hydrate – To drink a lot of water. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated liquids, as they can dehydrate you.
- If you’re headed to a waterway to cool off –
- Swim in designated areas. Not all beaches on the California coast are recommended for swimming or wading. Pay attention to weather service advisories and signs posted in park units alerting the public to dangerous situations. Click here for additional swimming tips.
- Learn more about rip currents. If you get caught in a rip current, stay calm and don’t fight it. Escape the current by swimming parallel to the shore. When there is no current, swim away from the rip at an angle towards the shore. If you feel like you won’t be able to reach the shore, draw attention to yourself by facing the shore and calling and waving for help. See more
- Wear a life jacket. This simple action can increase your chances of survival if you are involved in a water-related accident. Click here to see where you can borrow a life jacket.
- Actively supervise children. Accidents can happen quickly. Designate a water monitor to actively supervise children when they play near or in water.
For additional safety tips, visit Parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services website and consult the California Department of Public Health Press release “Public health officials are urging Californians to stay informed and protect themselves during the heat wave.” Visit BoatCalifornia.com for more general information on boating safety.
Key California State Park safety tips for staying safe in the heat in English and Spanish.
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California State Parks provides health, inspiration and education to the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most precious natural and cultural resources and creating recreational opportunities for high quality outdoors.