The scorching summer of 2005 motivated us to get our act together and do a better job preventing heat related illnesses in Arizona. That summer, we completed a needs assessment and developed a Heat Emergency Response Plan and Heat Brochure that identifies interventions using triggers from the National Weather Service. These days, we identify risk factors and strategies to improve healthy environments for Arizona residents, we have an enhanced surveillance system to more readily respond to increases in heat related public health events and we’ve been promoting better awareness of preventing heat related illnesses through public education.
Our Environmental Health shop scored a new grant to go the next mile. The new $115K/year grant will pay for us to implement a heat related illness education campaign which focuses on school-aged kids, seniors and occupational exposures. We’ll be providing information to Arizonans on decreasing their heat-related risk factors, developing educational videos, enhancing our advisories to school nurses and PE teachers and creating a website and a bimonthly newsletter. FYI… heat related illnesses are a significant risk in Arizona among high school football players because of the extreme heat. The CDC just published a new surveillance report on this topic.