Jul 5, 2024

Governor Newsom urges Californians to take precautions as dangerous heatwave continues

What you need to know: Much of the state remains under excessive heat warnings and watches with several more days of extreme heat expected. Governor Newsom continues to urge Californians to take precautions now to stay safe from the heat. 

SACRAMENTO – Much of interior California is entering its fourth day of temperatures reaching 110 degrees or higher – and most areas likely won’t see relief until early next week. Governor Gavin Newsom continues to urge Californians to take precautions and has directed an all-hands response to the heatwave by state government. 

Earlier this week, the Governor directed the Office of Emergency Services to activate its State Operations Center and move into Phase II of its Extreme Temperature Response Plan. This action ensures a 24/7, coordinated, whole-of-government response to the heatwave.  

Excessive heat warnings and watches are in effect for much of California through the weekend and into next week. The National Weather Service is forecasting Extreme HeatRisk for many parts of the state, with hot conditions between 105 and 118 degrees, and little overnight relief. 

Extreme heat kills more Americans every year than all other extreme weather, including wildfires and flooding. 

California is in the middle of a record heatwave – and now is not the time to let our guard down. We must remain vigilant – stay cool, stay hydrated and check in on loved ones and neighbors.

Governor Gavin Newsom

What California is doing to protect communities

Emergency coordination and response. Cal OES is coordinating with local governments and emergency managers on any regional needs. 

  • A current list of local cooling centers open by county can be found here. 
  • Through Listos California, Cal OES is deploying in-language preparedness messaging to California’s most impacted communities and those who may be most at risk during extreme temperatures, including those 65 years of age or older; individuals with chronic illness, disabilities or who are pregnant. 
  • The Office of Community Partnerships and Strategic Communications (OCPSC) is deploying in-language messaging to higher risk communities through Heat Ready CA,  which includes a network of community organizations and outreach to ethnic media.
  • Through the state’s Priority Populations Task Force, Cal OES convenes over 20 agencies to coordinate state and local resources and share information with the public, identify and address unmet needs, and ensure comprehensive preparedness and response in support of Californians at greatest risk and coordinate with local jurisdictions. 

Protecting workers. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is reminding employers to protect workers from heat illness during high temperatures by providing water, rest, shade and training. 

  • Field inspectors are conducting targeted inspections at worksites where workers are most vulnerable to heat illness including in agriculture and construction. 
  • Details on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available online at 99calor.org. Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention standard applies to all outdoor worksites.
  • The Government Operations Agency has coordinated messaging to all state employees on increased temperature preparedness and worked with building managers to reiterate state efficiencies during warmer days. 

Protecting public health and safety. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has created a Heat & Summer Safety toolkit to provide resources and communication tools that can be shared, including the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

  • CDPH also develops heat guidance for schools, local health jurisdictions, and other community service providers to protect Californians, particularly heat-vulnerable populations like children, students, older adults, the unhoused, outdoor workers, and those with existing health conditions.

Increasing climate resiliency. The California Natural Resources Agency and state climate partners are addressing longer-term impacts of climate change and extreme heat events through the Extreme Heat Action Plan to Build Community Resilience

  • Efforts include resources for vulnerable and underserved communities, investments in shading communities through green schoolyards and urban forestry initiatives, and putting nature-based solutions to work to cool buildings and infrastructure.

How you can stay safer from extreme heat

Go to ready.ca.gov to find resources and tips to stay safe from extreme heat, and other natural disasters.

Stay cool (during the hottest times of the day): 

  • Those without air conditioning should consider going to a cooling center. Check out this list of cooling centers across the state or visit a public location such as a library or shopping mall. To find free transportation to cooling centers in certain areas, use this finder tool.
  • Avoid physical exertion or exercising outdoors.
  • Wear lightweight, light colored, loose clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Stay hydrated:  

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, even when not thirsty; drink sports drinks (in moderation with water) to help replace electrolytes lost during exercise.
  • Avoid sugary, alcoholic, and very cold drinks.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Stay connected:

  • Monitor those at higher risk of heat-related illness including infants and young children; people 65 years of age or older; individuals with chronic illness, disabilities or who are pregnant. Determine risk at heatreadyca.com
  • Californians are also encouraged to check on their neighbors – call or visit higher risk people, and offer to pick up groceries, medication, and other necessities. Older adults, young children and babies, people with chronic medical conditions and those who are pregnant are most at risk.
  • Use a buddy system when working in the heat.
  • As a precaution, keep all communication and medical devices charged.

Stay informed: 

  • Check the local news for weather forecasts, extreme heat alerts, and cooling centers.

Stay safe outdoors: 

Warm summer weather is causing continued snow melt from winter’s record snowpack, resulting in colder and faster water that continues today. Remember to always be safe around the water:

  • Make sure you and your loved ones wear properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Several public and private entities make life jackets available to the public on a loan basis.
  • Always supervise children by appointing a designated “water watcher.”
  • Know your limits. Swimming in a lake, ocean or river is different than swimming in a pool.
  • If someone is in distress, seek help from a lifeguard or call 9-1-1 if one is not available.

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