Given the high temperatures registered in recent years, state and local authorities are working to offer different alternatives that manage to mitigate the risks of extreme heat and keep people safe in all communities.
During a press conference organized by Ethnic Media Services, specialists addressed the issue of extreme heat and the measures that are being taken, as well as the alternatives that are found in the short and long term to mitigate the effects of heat.
Kelly Turner, Associate Director of Urban Environmental Research, explained the urban heat island effect, which causes cities to be hotter than undeveloped areas, which is why it's important to have shade-generating structures. .
«One of the most important things we can do to address the heat issue is to think specifically about shade infrastructure, since being in the sun feels the effects of heat more intensely. We can reduce the body temperature by 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit with shading structures such as green resources, multi-story buildings, and different policies to improve spaces.», he added.
Lucía Abascal, a doctor from the California Department of Public Health, shared some recommendations to stay safe during the hot season.
For her, it is essential to protect herself from the heat in cool places, stay hydrated and not lose communication with friends, family and acquaintances who may be at risk.
«Stay cool. If you are lucky enough to have air conditioning, it is good to keep it on, if you do not have this, you can go to libraries, shopping centers and some other places. It is very important to ensure that everyone, especially those at high risk, stay hydrated. And lastly, contact each other. If you know an elderly person, a farm worker, or someone with small children, make sure you take care of each other.".
For Marta Segura, director of Heat and Climate Emergency Mobilization, it is necessary to implement measures that provide protection against high temperatures.
An example of this, he pointed out, is the city of Los Angeles, which is trying to address the issue of heat with a plan to plant trees, in addition to a plan for sheltering buses.
Segura stressed the importance of considering the increase in electricity consumption during the hot season, a situation that has become a barrier to staying safe, since not everyone can keep up with the high costs.
In that sense, the city of Los Angeles is trying to create new strategies to reduce the cost of electricity in buildings, in low-income housing and in those where many families live.
«Last year, with the heat waves, people were using Cooling Centers more, and so we are trying to create more where they are needed. We have 10 cooling centers in Los Angeles and if you count the libraries, then there are more than 100 centers that the county has, he explained.
He added that there is a heat relief campaign to share information on the subject, and they are collaborating with some organizations, county departments in the city, in addition to sharing messages on buses and in shelters, with banners and information cards that are in 5 different languages.
Sandra Young, a family nurse practitioner and founder of the Mixtec Indigenous Community Organization, expressed her concern for California farmworkers, since most of them are exposed to intense heat while working, and are often paid for what they harvest, reason for which they prefer to expose themselves to long hours, and even without taking breaks to generate more income.
It should be noted that this sector is very vulnerable as it is made up mostly of undocumented immigrants.
«Most California farmworkers are undocumented, many times they don't feel in a position to complain or demand their rights, they don't want to demand a break for fear of losing their job», he pointed out.
Dr. Kimberly Chang, a family physician, spoke about the Asian American community, where studies show that from 2005 to 2015, rates of ER visits for heat-related illness increased 50 percent, compared to 2014. As of 2018, there were 100 heat-related deaths among Asian-Pacific and Asian-Americans, preventable human losses.
For specialists, the extreme heat season puts everyone at risk, and considering that this phenomenon will continue to increase, it becomes necessary to generate alternatives within everyone's reach to stay cool and safe, in addition to creating new action plans for infrastructures in cities. , housing, working conditions, health programs and information campaigns, all to unite efforts to prevent human losses.
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