WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: California is protecting people from extreme heat by providing resources, opening cooling centers, enforcing worker protections, and more.
SACRAMENTO – With record-high temperatures possible in the coming days, California is mobilizing to help people stay safer from extreme heat.
Excessive heat watches and warnings are in effect across the southern half of the state, with additional watches, warnings, and advisories possible farther north, including the San Joaquin Valley. The hottest temperatures are currently forecast today through Monday.
Extreme heat is a killer – it’s more deadly than wildfires, flooding, and other climate-driven extreme weather.
Here are the top five ways California is working to protect people from extreme heat:
- Sharing tips and resources to keep Californians safer. Earlier this week, Governor Newsom launched Heat Ready CA (HeatReadyCA.com), one of the nation’s first statewide multi-lingual awareness and education campaigns designed to keep Californians safe during extreme heat. The two-year $20 million campaign focuses on heat-sensitive groups at highest risk, including those 65 years of age or older, workers, and individuals with chronic illness, disabilities or who are pregnant.
- Opening cooling centers statewide. Local communities across the state have opened cooling centers in anticipation of extreme temperatures. The Governor and Legislature have advanced $195 million in community resilience center investments, which can be used to support cooling centers and other resources to protect communities during climate and other emergencies. You can find a list of cooling centers by county here.
- Enforcing worker protections. Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to protect workers from heat illness as a dangerous heat wave is forecast to impact many parts of the state for the next two weeks. State inspectors are out in full force, conducting targeted high heat inspections with a focus on construction, agriculture, landscaping, and warehouse industries to ensure employers are complying with the law. In addition, the 99calor.org campaign is reaching workers and informing them about workplace protections.
- Mobilizing state government. California is treating this heat wave with the urgency it demands. Earlier this week, California activated Phase II of its Extreme Temperature Response Plan, which calls for increased coordination among state agencies and local partners. The State Operations Center and the Medical Health Coordination Center are also activated, which allows California to better coordinate with local and federal officials and respond as needed in real-time.
- Building resilience against extreme heat. Last year, Governor Newsom launched California’s Extreme Heat Action Plan, backed by more than $400 million in investments as part of the $52 billion California Climate Commitment, to guide the state’s response to heat waves, ensuring California is reaching vulnerable communities, protecting frontline workers and helping communities stand up cooling centers. Yesterday, the Governor announced CAL FIRE is providing $47 million in grants to help schools convert asphalt to green spaces and plant trees and other vegetation – adding cooler spaces essential to protecting kids from dangerous extreme heat.
Californians are encouraged to follow these tips to stay safe during extreme heat events:
- Stay cool. Close shades, windows and blinds. Set air conditioners between 75 and 80 degrees. If air-conditioning isn’t available, find a local cooling center or other air-conditioned public space (libraries, shopping malls, community centers, etc.). Try to stay indoors and wear loose, light-colored, lightweight clothing. While spending time in the water is refreshing on hot summer days, many California rivers are running faster, while lakes are deeper and colder than they’ve been in recent years. This makes them more dangerous than normal, even for strong swimmers.
- Stay hydrated. Drink at least 2 cups of water every hour even if you’re not feeling thirsty. Avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks.
- Look after each other. Check in on friends and family, especially elderly relatives or neighbors. Call 911 if there are signs of high fever (103°F or higher) or in case of other emergencies.