Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved her motion directing the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to create a Heat Emergency Response Plan and report back within 90 days:
“In extreme heat, LA County has been working diligently to protect our most vulnerable residents: people 65 or older; individuals with pre-existing medical conditions; those who are experiencing homelessness, and people with limited resources.
“We must look at this issue through an equity lens. Many neighborhoods have an uneven distribution of heat-absorbing buildings and pavements and often lack trees and greenery to help offset the heat, resulting in disparities.
“When a heat wave strikes, LA County transforms parks, libraries, and museums to serve as cooling centers for high-risk individuals who do not have access to air conditioning. However, with the pandemic, transportation limitations, and safety protocols in place, not everyone has easy access to these cooling centers. A strategic, well-thought out plan will help save lives when the temperatures rise.”
Today’s motion directs OEM and other pertinent County departments to draft a Heat Emergency Response Plan prioritizing:
-A communication outreach strategy to reach our most vulnerable residents;
-A population vulnerability assessment;
-Enhance warning communications, and
-Strengthen communication with the National Weather Service.
Today’s motion also instructs OEM and other pertinent County Departments to provide a report back by Sept. 1 that:
-Explores existing policies that determine the locations of cooling centers;
-Creates equity-based criteria for cooling center locations;
-Assesses County-operated buildings and facilities, as well as school buildings and churches, that could be used as cooling centers in consideration of social distancing guidelines; and
-Provides an assessment of available cooling centers and their ability to provide drinking water, medical supplies, and trained staff who recognize signs of heat illness.
Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org