You don’t have to step outside to feel the effects of this unprecedented heat wave affecting most of California – many of us are literally baking in our offices. The Excessive Heat Warning and Heat Advisory from the National Weather Service calls for us to broil until Friday, Sept. 8 at the earliest, with temperatures expected in the high 90s in Berkeley, and more than 110 degrees in locations inland in the meantime.

Because of the heat, low humidity, and increased winds, the Lab issued a local Red Flag Warning on Tuesday, prohibiting exterior hot work at the hill site until the heat subsides either late Thursday or Friday.

Common sense calls for outdoor activities to shift indoors where possible, but even there precautions need to be taken. Internal temperatures in Lab’s buildings will rise, and buildings that draw 100 percent outside air will notice the steepest increase.

Supervisors of employees who work outside need to take the heat into consideration, and everyone should be aware of symptoms of heat illness in themselves and in others. The Lab’s Environment, Health and Safety team has several resources on heat illness that are listed below. Contact your Facilities Area Manager to report building issues, and speak with your supervisor to see if you can work in a cooler location while this heat wave persists.

If you’re concerned about the threat of electrical blackouts, there’s some positive news: The Lab is considered critical infrastructure by PG&E, and the main hill site will not be impacted, as will offsite Lab locations except the Richmond warehouse. You can check your home address at the PG&E website to see which areas may have an outage.

The torrid conditions also increase the risk for wildfires in the area. If you see any signs of smoke or fire call 911, and if you are working on site also call the Lab Site Operations Center at (510) 486-6999.

Lastly, if you’re working from home or a remote location be aware of the statewide Flex Alert that calls for everyone to conserve electricity during the hours of 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Rotating electrical outages can be canceled if enough energy is conserved. And don’t forget to sign up for LabAlert to be notified on your mobile device of any Lab emergency.

Helpful links:

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Critical Information


Air Quality