‘Silent killer’: More than 1,300 heat deaths each year


(NewsNation) — Extreme heat is taking over parts of the south and west. While hot weather is typical this time of year, it can also be dangerous.

There are more than 1,300 heat deaths each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Los Angeles County has been deemed on the nation’s most vulnerable when it comes to extreme heat. In an effort to beat the heat, Marta Segura was appointed as the city’s Chief Heat Officer, an expansion of her role as the Director of the Climate Emergency Mobilization Office.

“This [heat] is a silent killer and the deadliest threat to California and Los Angeles,” Segura said.

Segura explains that she hopes the new role will bring a focus to the city to be proactive and to mitigate vulnerable populations in times of extreme heat. Her team is in the middle of aligning their strategy with the state of California and working alongside the National Weather Service to create an early warning system.

“We’re all working with the National Weather Service to ensure that we provide the most up-to-date information and early warning so people can plan their week, not just the day ahead, to ensure that they don’t get over exposed to heat,” Segura said. “So that’s one thing. We have to create a heat action plan and also ensure that the changes of the infrastructure that we’re creating within the city can withstand the increasing and extreme heat that’s going to be coming to Los Angeles.”

But it’s not just the summertime when Segura is worried about heat waves.

“We have six times more heat waves as we once did. Those heat waves are getting longer and they last through mid-November. So it’s not just the summer we’re worried about. We’re worried about mid-November, and then the heat waves come back again, full force like in February and March, which is something that we have to pay attention to since those hospitalizations and deaths are under counted.”

Segura stepped into the position just two weeks ago, but she’s just getting started with her plan to create a rating system for heat in hopes of saving lives across California.

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