CHICAGO - The heat of summer is here, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency wants individuals and families to be safe when faced with extended periods of high temperatures.

"A combination of high temperatures and high humidity can be dangerous and even life-threatening for people who don't take the proper precautions," said Andrew Velasquez III, FEMA Regional Administrator. "Protect yourself by knowing what to do before and during a period of extreme heat."

During extremely hot weather, you should take the following precautions:

• Become familiar with the emergency plans of your community, school and workplace.

• Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.

• Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings that are air conditioned.

• Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals.

• Drink plenty of water.

• Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes.

• Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning. • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.

• Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day.

• Know the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and seek medical attention if your conditions are severe.

For more information and tips on being ready for extreme heat, visit www.fema.gov and http://www.ready.gov/heat.