Heat In LA Can Be Deadly. A New City Role Aims To Fix That
Los Angeles is getting a chief heat officer.
The new role goes to Marta Segura, the director of the city's Climate Emergency Mobilization Office. She'll be doing both jobs.
In her capacity as chief heat officer, Segura will oversee the response to extreme heat, which is considered the deadliest climate risk facing the city. Councilmember Paul Krekorian’s motion created the position.
“As we talk about climate change as a global issue, it’s important that we also be mindful of the local impacts of extreme heat,” Krekorian said in a statement. “Extreme heat can lead to heart-related illness such as heat exhaustion and heat strokes, and it can aggravate pre-existing conditions like diabetes and heart disease.”
Segura will work as chief heat officer with city departments to expand the urban tree canopy, according to the statement. She’ll also update building codes to make sure new buildings have adequate cooling and create a heat action plan with an early warning system.
Segura is also tasked with developing an improved network of public cooling centers. Both the city and L.A. County operate dozens of the centers, which can fill up during triple-digit temperatures.
The appointment comes as Southern California is anticipating another hot summer. After Memorial Day (summer’s unofficial kickoff holiday), temperatures in parts of the city are already expected to reach into the 90s.
Warm temperatures are on the way for #SoCal, with highs in the lower 90s for interior areas. It will be dry too, so remember to stay hydrated, and never leave pets or kids in a parked car!! #CAwx pic.twitter.com/QPQdtj9nw5— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) May 31, 2022
“One in four lives lost during heat waves could be saved if the city strategically increases tree canopy cover and installs cool surfaces,” Krekorian said. “The chief heat officer position will save lives and improve quality of life in Los Angeles, especially in our most vulnerable neighborhoods.”
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