The city of Los Angeles has created a new job position: chief heat officer.
Marta Segura, director of the city’s climate emergency mobilization office, was recently appointed to the role.
She says the position was created because city officials realized that dangerous heat waves are getting longer and more frequent.
And a growing number of people were showing up at the hospital with heat-related illnesses. Many of them were low-income and suffered from other health conditions or lacked access to health care.
“That was just unacceptable,” Segura says.
So she is helping the city develop a heat action plan to reduce heat-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Her team launched a social media campaign to educate people about extreme heat and increase awareness of the city’s network of cooling centers.
“So when you call 311 or when you call the city of L.A, we can refer you to these city facilities for refuge from heat,” she says.
And the campaign is urging people to sign up for emergency heat notifications.
“That will alert them when a heat wave is coming so that they can plan and prepare in advance,” she says.
She says by promoting and coordinating these efforts, the city can help save lives.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media