California just experienced a brutal heat wave, with Fullerton reaching temperatures as high as 110 degrees. While the peaks of the heat wave have passed, many experts predict climate change will make extreme weather events like this more common.
Bo Park, an assistant professor in the department of public health, said that it is not common for these heat waves at this intensity to occur, especially in September.
“It’s not atypical that we would experience a heat wave in September, but I feel like the temperature is higher than we expected or we have experienced prior, but the duration and evening breaks that we get is just not enough right now,” Park said. “We have this extended heat and we don’t get any break in evenings, which we typically do.”
Park said that there are several health risks from this heat that any student could experience while being on campus, including headache, dizziness, nausea, and dehydration that can lead to muscle cramps and even fainting spells.
Nii-Kwame Oteng-Quarshie, a senior majoring in computer engineering, expressed his concern about having to be on campus during this hot season. Oteng-Quarshie said that classes should go virtual.
“It's just really hot, really uncomfortable. I feel like if it gets this hot, maybe they should move some classes online since we’re walking around consistently,” Oteng-Quarshie said. “That can be a real problem for some people.”
With classes that have outdoor activities, Park said that there is a possibility that heat-related illnesses can happen if these temperatures become a major issue. With rolling blackouts, Park said that the temperature of physical classrooms could be uncomfortable for students.
“Also, bringing your cars out and having those cars out in the heat, those kinds of environments can be very dangerous,” Park said. “So I could presume, having an online course during those hot days could be an option for instructors and students to reduce the risks if it becomes a concern.”
With the water fountains and the public station still operational, Park said she believed that the stations are mostly clean, but was unsure whether or not the fountains are managed every day by facility staff.
Beth Moody, an operations and communications specialist at the Capital Programs and Facilities Management, said in an email to the Daily Titan that the “facilities staff perform routine, preventative maintenance on and repairs to all drinking fountains and refill stations around campus, per the manufacturers’ recommendations.”
“The refill stations are regularly sanitized at potential high-touch areas of the unit. For enhanced safety, many of the units are touchless,” Moody said.
For future reference in any upcoming heat waves, Park said that students should avoid being dehydrated and take advantage of the water stations on campus. Students should also avoid walking in the sunlight and try to find somewhere that is shady.
“Definitely hydrating yourself, like having water handy, and we have plenty of water stations throughout the campus for you to refuel. Try to kind of walk on the shaded path, don’t stay out for a prolonged period if possible,” Park said.