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Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
August 14, 2003

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner

Statement by Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. Commissioner of Health and Senior Services On Protecting Families from Heat-Related Health Problems During the Current Power Outage



Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. recommended today that New Jerseyans take precautions to avoid heat-related health problems that may result from the current power outages in New Jersey.


“With the loss of electricity, homes may experience a significant rise in temperature, posing a health risk to the very young and the elderly,” said Commissioner Lacy.  “A few simple actions can protect our families and neighbors from heat-related health problems.”


Dr. Lacy recommends that people in areas affected by the power outage do the following:

·         Drink plenty of fluids, including water and other non-alcoholic drinks;

·         Open windows in your home to create a cooling breeze;

·         Until full power is restored, minimize opening of refrigerators and freezers to maintain temperatures and prevent food from spoiling;

·         If power is on in a nearby neighborhood, visit family or friends there, go to an air-conditioned business such as a mall or movie theater, or go to a public building such as a library;

·         Check on elderly relatives and neighbors to see if they need help taking proper heat precautions, or if they need medical attention because of the heat;

·         Take care not to overdress children and to give them plenty of liquids to drink throughout the day. Children under age five, particularly those under age one, are especially sensitive to the effects of heat.


Commissioner Lacy also stressed the importance of being prepared for events such as the power outage New Jersey experienced today.


 “All households should have an emergency preparedness kit,” said Dr. Lacy. 


Items in an emergency preparedness kit should include:


·         A case of bottled water;

·         Extra batteries of various sizes;

·         Battery powered radios;

·         Battery powered flashlights;

·         Essential prescription medications for two to three days, as well as over the county medicines such as aspirin;

·         A first aid kit.


Additional advice on how to manage high heat and humidity can be found at




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