Fighting the Heat

An area that is becoming more of a concern on a worldwide scale includes global climate change. And while in the past, little attention was paid to this growing phenomenon, recent events around the globe have brought it into the limelight. Extreme temperatures have always been of major concern, especially in countries such as India, where the summer heat can become sweltering. Recent heat waves around the world have left government officials scrambling to come up with ways to both warn and protect the population. The recent heat season in India left 1.3 billion Indians trying to beat 115 degree heat, with hundreds being killed by the heat and thousands being seriously affected across India.

To combat these temperature extremes, officials in India have launched the Heat Action Plan, the first plan of its kind, in Ahmedabad, India. The plan is a comprehensive early warning system for extreme heat events taking place in India. Furthermore, the plan lays out what to do in response to such high temperatures. This includes issuing alerts for expected high heat levels, using emergency resources to help the population deal with the heat and its effects, and coordinating plans and actions between various city stakeholders during such heat events. It is hoped that this can be accomplished by using the following three important pilot activities.

Electronic Temperature Displays

One step administrators are taking includes the installation of signboards in the various city communities around India, warning residents of extreme heat, as well as notifying them of the current temperature. This allows residents to prepare for such events or seek the aid of local organizations geared toward helping citizens cope with extreme heat.

Effective Community Outreach

Another area that community leaders are using to reach out to the populace when the temperature goes up includes education, mainly through the use of billboard messages around the city instructing residents on how to “Save Yourself from Heat.” School children have likewise been given pamphlets, as well as those who attend urban health centers, advising them of crucial heat-illness prevention tips. These tips are additionally set to broadcast on local radio.

Coordination Between Agencies

To help facilitate heat emergency response, an innovative early warning system has been developed to help in the coordination between various agencies both before and during a heat wave. This includes coordination between city hospitals and key stakeholders, allowing for agencies to provide adequate resources during extreme heat events.

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