Extreme-heat events occur when temperatures are substantially higher than average for a particular location at a given time of year. The impacts of extreme heat can cause widespread suffering and fatalities: there were more than 7,400 heat-related deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2010.
That’s why the Federal Government is aggressively working to help State, regional, tribal, and local communities prepare for potential extreme-heat events this summer. America’s PrepareAthon!—the Administration’s seasonal campaign to build community-level preparedness action—has designated the week of May 23–27 as Extreme Heat Week.
Fortunately, the majority of heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. If we take actions to prepare for and respond to extreme-heat events, we can dramatically reduce the risks associated with extreme heat—especially for the most vulnerable populations, including the elderly and very young, people with certain health conditions, people like farmers or construction workers who work outside, and people in low-income households. There are a number of resources that can help:
- During Extreme Heat Week (May 23-27), Federal departments and agencies will take a number of actions to raise public awareness and prepare the nation for extreme heat. You can learn more about these efforts at https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/05/20/preparing-our-nation-beat-heat and https://www.ready.gov/heat.
- As part of Extreme Heat Week, on Thursday, May 26, from 2:00 – 3:00 PM EDT, the White House will hold a webinar featuring a panel of experts speaking about the growing risks of extreme heat and strategies that can be taken to reduce health impacts, with a focus on protecting vulnerable populations. To register for the webinar, click here.
- The National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) is launching a new interagency portal at http://climate.gov/NIHHIS. The NIHHIS portal integrates heat-health information, case studies, and tools from across the Federal Government to support on-the-ground efforts to reduce heat-related impacts on human health.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a media toolkit, Extreme Heat and Your Health, which contains a host of web-based information and printable flyers and educational materials. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/materials.html
- The U.S. Global Change Research Program recently released The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. This report stated that by the end of the century, we can expect a decrease in premature cold-related deaths in the winter but an increase of thousands to tens of thousands of premature heat-related deaths each summer, based on present-day sensitivity. Available at https://health2016.globalchange.gov/
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Excessive Heat Events Guidebook helps community officials, emergency managers, meteorologists, and others plan for and respond to excessive heat events. Available at http://www.epa.gov/heat-islands/excessive-heat-events-guidebook
- National Weather Service Heat Alerts are available at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/ww.shtml
- When you’re working in the heat, safety comes first. With the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Heat Safety Tool, you have vital safety information available whenever and wherever you need it – right on your mobile phone. Available at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html
- The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. Available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/programs/liheap