Forecast graphic provided by the National Weather Service during a statewide briefing for federal, state and local agencies on Friday, June 16, 2016.

State’s Top Emergency Manager, Public Health Officer Urge Californians to Prepare for Excessive Heat Beginning this Weekend

SACRAMENTO – In response to forecasts of excessive heat early next week, especially in Southern California, state officials are urging Californians to prepare for potentially record-breaking temperatures starting Sunday.  State agencies and utility companies have already implemented plans and taken steps in anticipation of the heatwave.

This warming trend has prompted the issue of Excessive Heat Watches and Warnings by the National Weather Service (NWS) Sunday through Wednesday in desert and high-desert areas, as well as parts of Fresno, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial and Orange and Los Angeles Counties.

Get the latest weather alerts and warnings for California
NWS ALERTS ACTIVE IN CALIFORNIA

“Heat-related emergencies cause dozens of deaths in California each year and prompt thousands of people to seek treatment at local emergency rooms,” said California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “In 2006, nearly 200 people died in California from extreme heat. High temperatures need to be taken very seriously. People should protect themselves and watch out for others who might be vulnerable to extreme temperatures, especially the elderly, people with existing health conditions and people who are isolated.”

Based on the forecasts by the National Weather Service, state agencies have already begun to issue calls for preparedness through news releases, social media and direct contact with industries where heat impacts workers.

“We’ve seen the dramatic impacts of excessive heat on the state in years past, so we developed a comprehensive outreach, preparedness and response plan for times like this,” said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “This plan describes state operations during heat-related emergencies and provides guidance for state agencies, local government, and non-governmental organizations in the preparation of their heat emergency response plans and other related activities.

“Our goal is to get ahead of the potential impacts and try to prevent as many incidents of heat illness or injury as possible,” said Ghilarducci.  “We’ve already been coordinating with a wide range of agencies and industries to minimize the potential for energy shortages and encourage conservation,” said Ghilarducci. “It’s critical every Californian take this seriously and follow steps now to prevent heat illness and conserve power this next week.”

Tips for the Public

Key actions those impacted by the excessive heat can take to reduce their risk of heat-related death and injury include (Fast Facts Guide by CDPH):

  • Keep a close eye on local media for the latest weather forecasts and information from local officials
  • Learn the signs of heat-related illness
  • Stay out of the sun
  • Drinking plenty of liquids and reducing physical activity
  • Identify a cool location such as the mall, the theater or a designated cooling center that you can go to
  • Use cool compresses, misting and baths to lower body temperatures
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and sunscreen
  • Take shelter and breaks periodically, as well as staying hydrated, if you must work outside
  • Check periodically friends, family members and neighbors who may be especially sensitive to the impacts of excessive heat
  • Employers should provide enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart, or four 8-ounce glasses, of water per hour, and encourage them to do so

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Actions by State Agencies

As a result of the forecasted excessive high temperatures, Cal OES has coordinated with state and local agencies who are taking a multitude of steps to prepare and respond.  Here are some of the actions taken recently:

 

Kelly Huston

Kelly is a Deputy Director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). He leads a team of communications professionals working daily on a wide range of public safety issues including disaster mitigation, response and recovery.

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