Innovative Mapping Techniques: How the EPA Is Protecting Vulnerable Populations from Heat Exposure

Every year, extreme heat conditions affect thousands of lives throughout the United States. With temperatures hitting record highs during the summer of 2018, it is imperative to protect those impacted most severely as temperatures continue to rise. For this reason, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a report on innovative mapping techniques being used to pinpoint areas with populations who are at the highest risk of suffering from heat-related illnesses such as dehydration and/or heat stroke. This research utilizes qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis  to establish an informative map. The end product will act as a resource going forward in effectively caring for vulnerable populations  including the very young, the very old, those with limited English proficiency, certain racial groups and Indigenous peoples, as well as those with mental health or preexisting health conditions.

This mapping technique will be crucial in developing effective partnerships with local governments as heat-related illnesses require a successful integrated approach. Preventative measures such as cooling stations as well as first responders equipped to handle the demand of the hottest seasons is critical. Concerted efforts will focus on the areas with the highest need as these mapping techniques account for the highest concentration of heat-related illnesses.

Public health demands can be cumbersome when witnessing extreme weather conditions, however with the proper tools and foresight we have the capacity to take care of our most vulnerable citizens with care and precision. The HSDL offers many additional resources on general topics such as Public Health and Emergency Preparedness as well as Climate Change which can be found in our Featured Topic section. Please note: HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.

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