This week might be the hottest ever on record for the Yakima area.

The hottest heat wave of the year is forecast with several consecutive days above 100 degrees. So your life and your neighbor's and friend's lives could depend on plain-old common sense these next few days.

Do not shrug off the heat.

If you drive an older car, remember that extreme heat causes the old belts and cooling systems to fail. Try and park in the shade whenever possible and if you have a garage you should try and clean it out so you can use it.

There are exactly two parking spots at our offices that get shade all day, so if your place of business is anything like ours, shade is probably not an option while at work.

This is a great week to go by a new sunshade for the windshield. It isn't a bad idea to carry your refillable water bottle with you and refill it before leaving in case you get stuck in the heat. Take it inside with you when you get to wherever you're going though.

In years past, elderly neighbors have been rescued by thoughtful folks who took the extra five minutes to see how they were doing. Remember to check on your neighbors!

Instead of letting the kids try and play outside in the heat during a hot spell last year, we instead invited the elderly woman next door to join us for a trip to get ice cream.

Turned out, she wanted to go to the store so she could bunker down in the AC, but she was afraid of taking her 1994 Honda Accord out of the garage and exposing it to the heat. No wonder the thing looks no more than five years old.

I did end up with all the best neighborhood gossip, too.

If you do have outdoor activities planned, remember to watch for these signs:

The National Weather Service has heat-related tips and information at

My kids are going bananas as we edge close to the beginning of the school year. This is the week I may break down and go rent a bunch of XBox games instead of trying to squeeze too many hours outside in the pool.

Whatever you do this week to stay cool, remember to stay hydrated and force the kids to drink some ice water for a change.