AFL 20-65 From the California Department of Public Health
August 13, 2020
TO: All Facilities
SUBJECT: Level II Extreme Heat Alert
All Facilities Letter (AFL) Summary
- This AFL notifies health care facilities that the National Weather Service has issued Level II Excessive Heat Warnings for California. These Heat Warnings are in effect from 10:00 a.m., Friday, August 14, through 9:00 p.m., Monday, August 17, 2020, with much of California at high risk for widespread, continuous triple-digit temperatures.
- Facilities must implement recommended precautionary measures to keep individuals safe and comfortable during extremely hot temperatures and must have contingency plans in place to deal with the loss of air conditioning, or in the case when no air conditioning is available, take measures to ensure patients and residents are free of adverse conditions that may cause heat-related health complications.
- Facilities must report extreme heat conditions that compromise patient health and safety and/or require an evacuation, transfer, or discharge of patients.
From August 14, 2020 through August 17, 2020, California will be experiencing a significant warming trend that will bring High Risk and Very High Risk heat impacts to much of the Southern, Coastal, and Inland Regions. This will result in multiple excessive heat warnings and watches throughout the state and it is possible this heat event may last through the end of August. While heat events such as this one are not unusual during the summer months, an extended heat wave, with poor cooling overnight, can lead to dangerous conditions.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Licensing and Certification (L&C) Program reminds all health care facilities that the elderly and other health compromised individuals are more susceptible to temperature extremes and possible dehydration. Facility administrators should monitor weather predictions for fluctuations in extreme temperatures and take extra precautions to be sure appropriate air conditioning equipment is well maintained and operating effectively.
Facilities must have contingency plans in place to deal with the loss of air conditioning, or in the case when no air conditioning is available, take measures to ensure patients and residents are free of adverse conditions that may cause heat-related health complications. Facilities should use portable fans and other temporary cooling devices when indicated.
The L&C Program recommends facilities review CDPH’s Fast Facts: Preventing Summer Heat Injuries and implement the following measures to keep residents and clients comfortable during extremely hot weather:
- Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing
- Keep residents well hydrated with particular attention to dependent residents
- Minimize physical activities during the hottest parts of the day
- Stay indoors and out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day
- Use fans as indicated in the “Fast Facts” page on preventing summer heat injuries
- Open windows where feasible if screens are intact, to allow fresh air to circulate
- Use cool compresses, misting, showers, and baths to promote cooling
- Avoid hot foods and heavy meals
- Encourage frozen treats such as “popsicles” between meals
- Keep a hydration station readily available to residents, family, and staff
- Be alert to adverse changes in patient and resident conditions that may be heat related
- Develop and implement a system to monitor hydration status and be prepared to take appropriate interventions
- Pay special attention to patients with medications that make the patient susceptible to high temperatures, e.g., psychotropic medications
While implementing these measures, healthcare providers and facilities should continue to follow the latest Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and CDPH AFLs. Facilities can follow current warnings and watches through the National Weather Service (NWS) CA Hazards Summary.
Licensing regulations require facilities to report all emergency and/or disaster-related occurrences that threaten the welfare, safety, or health of patients to the L&C Program. If the extreme heat conditions affect your facility by compromising patient health and safety and/or require an evacuation, transfer, or discharge of patients, you must contact your L&C district office.
Please follow these guidelines for reporting such occurrences:
|During normal business hours (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)||Contact the local L&C district office you customarily work with for your geographical location.|
|For after-hour reporting or if the local L&C district office is non-operational due to an emergency and/or disaster||For facilities outside Los Angeles County, contact the State Office of Emergency Services Warning Center at (916) 845-8911. Ask that they notify the CDPH duty officer.For facilities in Los Angeles County contact the Los Angeles County Operator at (213) 974-1234. Ask that they notify the on-call Health Facilities Inspection Division supervisor.|
If you have any questions regarding the content of this AFL, please contact your respective district office.
Original signed by Heidi W. Steinecker
Heidi W. Steinecker
- Fast Facts: Preventing Summer Heat Injuries
- CDPH Emergency Preparedness Office’s Extreme Heat webpage
- CDC – Natural Disasters and Severe Weather
- NWS – CA Hazards Summary
- California Office of Emergency Services Contingency Plan for Excessive Heat Emergencies (PDF)
- AFL 20-54 – Hot Summer Weather Advisory
- Guidance for Cooling Centers