Extreme Heat Resources

During extremely hot days, there are many things to do to stay safe and cool.  Resting for two hours indoors can significantly reduce heat-related illness. In addition to shopping malls, stores, or movie theaters, you may consider cooling off at one of our county facilities designated as “Cooling Centers”.

County Heat Plan Activation

When the National Weather Service issues a heat advisory for Fairfax County (usually 24 hours in advance), the county will then activate its heat plan.

The heat plan is activated when NWS issues one of the following alerts:

  • Heat Advisory: issued when the heat index values is expected to reach 105 to 109 degrees within the next 12-24 hours.
  • Excessive Heat Watch: Issued when there is a potential for the heat index to reach or exceed 110 degrees within the next 24-48 hours.
  • Excessive Heat Warning: Issued when the heat index values is expected to reach or exceed 110 degrees within the next 12-24 hours.

Supplies to Beat the Heat

When Fairfax County’s heat plan is activated, supplies will be available for those who need it including water bottles, sunscreen, insect repellant, hats and cooling towels.

Fairfax County distributes supplies through outreach workers and other partners who go out into the community to check on unsheltered residents, shelters, drop-in centers, and meal sites.

The Cooling Assistance program helps keep Fairfax County residents cool during the summer months through:

  • Payment of electric bills to operate cooling equipment.
  • Payment of security deposits for electricity to operate cooling equipment for accounts in danger of being disconnected or when a deposit is needed to begin service.
  • Repair of a central air conditioning system or heat pump.
  • Purchase of a whole-house fan, including ceiling or attic fans.
  • Purchase and installation, or self-pick-up, of one air conditioning unit (window or portable).

To be eligible, at least one household member must be: 60 or older; 5 or younger; or disabled according to Social Security, Medicaid or 100% Veteran’s Administration.

Are you in need of additional cooling during the summer? 

The Senior Cool Care Program is a program that helps low-income older citizens in our jurisdiction keep cool during summer months. This program does not provide financial assistance, but it provides additional cooling at home by providing fans for eligible older adults, age 60 and older.

The program runs May 1 through October 31, 2023. If you are interested in learning more about the program, please call the Aging, Disability & Caregiver Resource Line at 703-324-7948.

Learn More


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