J5.4 Heat Health Warning Systems in Canada: Development, Implementation and Assessment

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 4:45 PM
Room 228/229 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Dave Henderson, EC, Gatineau, QC, Canada; and S. Jeffers and A. Yagouti

The World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organization recently issued joint guidance on warning system development to reduce heat health risk, warning that these events will increase in the future due to climate change. In Canada, the Federal Government, led by Environment Canada and Health Canada, has been collaborating with provincial and municipal health agencies to develop coherent risk communication strategies around the issuance of public heat warnings. The purpose of this abstract is to report on the emerging picture in Canada and provide the status on a few of these initiatives. For example, such collaborations have demonstrated the necessity for heat warnings to be driven by health evidence complemented by multi-tiered prescriptive messaging while consider regional climatology. Another example is the value of systematic, timely notification provided by the Meteorological Service of Canada to municipal health units of impending heat events. This notification is used to support mobilization around reducing public heat risk, specifically early action for those most vulnerable to heat. Assessment of the collaboration around issuing warnings and the public health response to reduce the risk is underway. Two post event surveys were run during two different heat events this year, which will help to assess public perception of the risk communication during those events.
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