Extreme Heat

Hazard Overview: Extreme Heat in Baltimore

Extreme heat can be lethal, especially for our most vulnerable citizens. Every year, before the onset of hot weather, the City works to update and implement its Code Red Heat Alert Plan. This plan, which involves 15 City and outside agencies, provides information and services to help residents stay cool on the hottest days of the year.

The Health Commissioner declares a Code Red Heat Alert day during periods of extreme heat. The decision to activate Code Red Heat Alert on a particular day will be made before 6 A.M. of that day, if possible. Individuals unsure of whether a Code Red Heat Alert is in effect can call the City's 311 Call Center for details. 311 operators will provide cooling center locations, safety tips and information about warning signs for heat-related injury.

For more information and a list of Cooling Centers, please visit the Baltimore City Health Department’s Code Red page.

Tips for Beating the Heat

The Baltimore City Health Department recommends that city residents:

  • Drink plenty of water or juice
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Wipe skin with cool water as needed
  • Reduce outside activities
  • Wear light-weight and light-colored clothing
  • Stay inside during the hottest time of day
  • 2008 Code Red Heat Alert Plan (PDF File)

Watch out for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness
  • High body temperature with cool and clammy skin
  • Seek medical help immediately if any of these symptoms occur
  • Seek relief from the heat in air-conditioned locations
  • Check on older, sick or frail people in your community who may need help responding to the heat