With forecasts for a sweltering summer, L.A. vows to improve response to extreme heat
With forecasts calling for warmer-than-average temperatures across California this summer, officials in Los Angeles are vowing to do more to protect residents from extreme heat, one of the deadliest consequences of human-caused climate change.
City officials said they are launching the “Heat Relief 4 L.A.” campaign to help spread the word about the dangers of extreme heat, which disproportionately affects low-income communities and communities of color, as well as pregnant women, homeless people and the elderly.
Among the city’s top priorities are installing more cooling centers and hydration stations to provide relief on hot days, as well as investing in cool pavement projects and trees to help combat the urban heat island effect, mayor Karen Bass said during a news conference Wednesday.
Emergency room visits and mortality rates skyrocket during hot weather, which is also associated with higher labor costs, workplace injuries, impaired learning and decreased cognitive performance. Power outages and blackouts are also increasingly common as more people turn on their air conditioners, straining the power grid.
The city also seeks to improve its “social infrastructure” through heat risk communication campaigns, targeted disaster response resources and expanded cooling and resilience centers, Segura said. Residents can use the Cool Spots LA app to find nearby cooling centers during heat emergencies.
Extreme heat brings with it other potential hazards, including the increased risk of wildfires and more pressure on the power grid, Krekorian said. It can also affect transit, as agencies have experienced “delays and cancellation of service on extreme heat days because of the need to inspect sagging power lines, buckling rails and so forth just to make sure that the transit system is safe to use.”
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