Skip to content

State leaders prepare for continuing heat waves


AV high temperatures over weekend

As the summer ends, so should the heat waves. But with a heat wave approaching California residents, experts want to remind people of the proper safety measures they should take to stay cool, and what organizations are doing to prepare residents for next summer.

“We know that every county in SoCal struggles with the increase of heat as temperatures have risen on average 5 degrees every year for the past 20 years. That is why many climate control organizations have advocated for not only greener spaces, but also for cooler spaces,” said Braden Key, the new Extreme Heat Program Manager in California’s Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. “We must become more resilient to extreme heat in the long term as well as support heat released efforts.” California is the first state to make huge investments into supporting community resilience to heat waves and other natural disasters.

Key also wants to point out that while weather and media outlets always focus on the highest days and what the temperatures are compared to last year, we should focus on the nighttime temperatures as there’s some places in California whose night temperatures don’t go below 90 degrees. “ People who can’t cool their bodies down will struggle at night to get proper rest, and with multiple nights of the same issue, you question their physical and mental state and capabilities.”

Key and California’s Governor’s Office of Planning and Research are starting a new grant program to support residents and give direct infrastructure to help change the built environment by adding trees and shade infrastructure. The first round of the program will start in February, and the grantees will receive funding that follows summer to prepare for the possible heat waves.

Esther Bejarano, a parent, and a lead promotora for Asthma Linkages, Asthma Management Academy, and Calexico Asthma Education Program. She talks about being a parent trying to keep their child cool and hydrated during the heat waves.

“I have to send my son to school with a large water bottle every day for him to stay properly hydrated during school. One day, I was five minutes late from picking him up from school, and he was outside flushed and red all over.” Bejarano said as she spoke about her concerns about sending her son to school during heat waves.

With Bejarano’s experience in helping people with asthma, she advocates for schools and infrastructures, in general, to have better air quality with everybody occupying the space as breathing becomes harder during the day. “We need investment, infrastructure, education,  and we need to educate directly to the schools, directly to the students, and change that cultural behavior,” Bejarano said as she talked about the assumptions with heat and how unserious people take it.

“We need to wear an umbrella, eyeglasses and sunshades. We need to protect our eyes. This climate change is taking a toll on our bodies. We need to make sure that we educate families to advocate for their children at school. Schools need to prepare for what’s coming and what is already right now,” Bejarano said.