Heat alert and response systems to protect the health of Canadians
Heat waves, or extreme heat events, are expected to increase in frequency and severity in Canada as the climate continues to change. Scientific evidence internationally and in Canada suggests that extreme heat events are associated with sudden short-term increases in mortality, particularly among seniors, the chronically ill and the socially disadvantaged. Public health and emergency management officials in Health Canada are developing the information and tools needed to help identify and locate people within specific communities who are most at risk of heat illness and death. These tools will help public health officials develop adaptation measures to protect health.
To this end, Health Canada will describe the resources available to public health units in Ontario, including the report “Heat Alert and Response Systems to Protect Health: Best Practices Guidebook." The presentation will include information on recent research findings regarding risks to health from extreme heat, how to assess individual and community vulnerability and best practices for developing and implementing a heat alert and response system. Discussion will include an overview of new research related to communicating heat health risks to the public.
Presenter: Dr. Peter Berry
Dr. Peter Berry is senior policy advisor with the Climate Change and Health Office (CCHO) at Health Canada. The mandate of the CCHO is to build an understanding of the potential effects of climate change on human health and support the development of adaptation strategies to reduce the risks of climate change to all Canadians. Peter is currently a lead author for the Health Chapter of the Government of Canada Climate Impacts and Adaptation Assessment 2013. He is also a contributing author to new climate change and health vulnerability assessment guidelines developed by the World Health Organization.
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