The National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) has launched the HEAT.gov website today, providing resources and information to Americans looking to beat the heat. NIHHIS’s mission is to identify needs for extreme heat services, develops science-based solutions, and leverages partnerships to empower communities with improved communications, capacity building, and decision-making. With a vision of keeping the country free of heat-related illness and death, the HEAT.gov effort is a collaboration among many federal partners which include CDC, EPA, FEMA, NPS, DHHS, OSHA, NOAA, and more.
The HEAT.gov website which serves as the information hub for this collaborative endeavor includes tools such as temperature and climate outlooks, information and resources that cover groups that are at risk of extreme heat, and related news articles and press releases from the partner agencies. The website says they are there as the “premier source of heat and health information for the nation to reduce the health, economic, and infrastructural impacts of extreme heat.”
NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., discussed NOAA’s role in developing the new website in a press release shared by the agency today. “Reducing the risks of extreme heat in our country requires a whole-of-government effort, which is why NOAA has led a large federal coalition to create, launch and manage Heat.gov. This website will improve public health and help us build a Climate-Ready Nation.”
“Currently, few health systems have heat action plans and heat exposure is rarely integrated into real-time clinical health decision-making for patients,” said Cecilia Sorensen, M.D., associate professor and director of the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education at Columbia University. “…There is an urgent need for increased health system preparedness to meet the growing burden of heat-related illness. These new tools will allow health systems easy access to the information they need to promote climate-readiness and heat-resiliency, ultimately improving patient and community health outcomes while reducing system-wide impacts and improving the efficiency of health systems.”
Heat.gov was created in collaboration with Esri, a geographic information system company. The website is hosted on Esri’s cloud-based geospatial platform, which allows easy access to a range of features, such as localized heat information, links to heat tools across the federal government, and an interactive map of the NOAA and NIHHIS urban heat island mapping campaigns. The site supports open data access, enabling communities and planners to integrate federal heat information into their own decision-making.