Summary: Effective Wednesday, policy guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the first time will require state emergency managers to consider climate change and equity in disaster planning. The updated guidelines will help prioritize extreme heat as a weather-related hazard that states must mitigate. Comments below from Duke University heat expert Ashley Ward are available to use in your coverage.
“It is great to see federal agencies like FEMA prioritizing extreme heat and incorporating it into their guidance,” says Ashley Ward, senior policy associate at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability. “What states need now is further support to effectively implement heat mitigation into their planning process.”
“We’ve spent a lot of time in the United States teaching people how to respond to and evacuate from hurricanes, saving many lives. We haven’t created the infrastructure yet to help people understand the risk of and take action to protect themselves against extreme heat.”
“Ultimately, planners want to help the people they serve stay safe in the face of extreme events. Practical solutions and guidance will help ease the process to ensure robust planning and preparedness around extreme heat.”
Ashley Ward is a senior policy associate at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability. Ward focuses on engaging communities to identify and address climate, environmental and health issues while helping them develop long-term, sustainable strategies relevant to their needs. With the NOAA RISA team in the Carolinas, she worked on heat-related illness, heat impacts on maternal health outcomes and public health preparedness and readiness for climate extremes.
For additional comment, contact Ashley Ward at:
On Thursday, the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability will publish a policy brief that scores how well states account for extreme heat in their most recent hazard mitigation plans. The brief will offer recommendations to help emergency managers adequately evaluate the threat of extreme heat as they update their plans. The brief will be available Thursday at: https://nicholasinstitute.duke.edu/publications/defining-extreme-heat-hazard-review-current-state-hazard-mitigation-plans
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