The Community Heat Response Plan (the Plan) is implemented to assist citizens during intense heat events.  Relief activities within the Plan operate annually from the Victoria Day long-weekend until Labour Day.  While the Plan can be activated during this period, community collaboration occurs throughout the year to review and improve plans and response.  So far this year, there have not been any extreme heat events.

 

There are three potential stages of “heat response” and different responses occur within each:

 

  • Ø      Stage 1 – Heat Advisory (1 day with humidex of 40 or greater);
  • Ø      Stage 2 – Heat Warning (2 or more days with a humidex of 40 or greater); and,
  • Ø      Stage 3 – Heat Alert (4 or more days with a humidex of 40 or greater OR 1 or more days with a humidex of 45 or greater).

 

The Plan is put into action each year by the Community and Emergency Services (CESD) and Public Health Services Departments (PHSD).  Many other City departments have a specific role to play, as do a significant and ever-increasing number of community partners.

 

Most noteworthy, citizens are becoming more aware of their important role in looking out for family, friends, neighbours, and strangers in Hamilton.  This awareness about heat health and heat response has been fostered and continuously improved through information sharing with and by media, community word-of-mouth, and other public sources.

 

The Plan’s education, awareness and response tools, and actions ensure citizens receive timely information and relief from excessive temperatures are listed below.

Cool Places: 

 

This year, there are 76 Cool Places in the community where the public can find short-term relief from the heat, 37 of them City-operated.  Seven pools and 53 spray-pad locations also provide relief to the heat during the summer.  In addition, community partners operate 39 Cool Places, 27 of those for the unique needs of their clients only.  This year, in response to an expressed need in our community, one community partner has stepped forward to operate as the first Cool Place for Pets in Hamilton.  Cool Place information is available at www.hamilton.ca/heat.

 

Communication:

 CESD uses a variety of methods to coordinate further public outreach including:

 Media Relations

  • Proactively send additional information beyond PHSD media advisory, e.g. extended hours for pools and facilities, and temporary interruptions of service if they occur; messages that stress the importance of having the public check on friends, neighbours, and family;
  • Answer questions on community response, clarifying information, and helping connect with internal spokespeople.

 Community Organizations & Agencies

  • Contact with various groups in Hamilton that have immediate connection to large segments of the population or serve vulnerable individuals, for example:
  • Agencies serving disabled/vulnerable populations
  • Neighbourhood associations
  • Best Start Network (approximately 50 child and family-serving organizations)
  • City landlords and related associations
  • Community Information Hamilton
  • Newcomer and Immigrant Associations

 Social Media

  • Timely messages sent out via Twitter to Hamilton’s broad community of social media users.

 Miscellaneous

  • The City of Hamilton’s Heat website at www.hamilton.ca/heat has a great deal of useful information for citizens and partners and is managed and updated by CESD;
  • Heat messaging posted on City-owned LCD screens and the reader board located outside of City Hall;
  • Internal staff notification via mass voicemail distribution system; and,
  • PHSD Emergency Response Messaging System notifies community partners.
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