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Change and Adaptation in Socio-Ecological Systems

Climate Change, Social Changes, Technological Development

Ed. by Inostroza, Luis / Fürst, Christine

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Heat Alert and Response Systems in Urban and Rural Communities in Canada

Peter Berry / Anna Yusa / Toni Morris-Oswald / Anastasia Rogaeva
Published Online: 2014-12-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/cass-2014-0009


Health Canada reviewed national and international literature to develop a framework that identifies best practices for developing and implementing Heat Alert and Response Systems (HARS) to protect citizens from extreme heat events. A comparative case study was conducted based upon the framework and the experiences of two Canadian jurisdictions that piloted many of the best practices in the development of new HARS. Table-top exercises, heat-health vulnerability assessments, and community consultations were used to inform the development and implementation of HARS plans. Implementation of the framework by local authorities revealed different and unique challenges facing rural and urban communities in protecting people from extreme heat events. Opportunities within each pilot for taking effective public health adaptive actions that draw upon existing strengths and resources were also identified. Key aspects of HARS development including those related to education and engagement, development of an alert protocol, creation of a heat response plan, and identification of communication activities should be tailored to the needs of individual communities or regions and be informed by specific characteristics related to existing and future vulnerability.

Keywords : climate change; extreme heat events; heat alert and response systems; adaptive capacity; resiliency; rural; urban; urban heat island


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About the article

Received: 2014-03-06

Accepted: 2014-08-20

Published Online: 2014-12-12

Citation Information: Change and Adaptation in Socio-Ecological Systems, Volume 1, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-3669, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/cass-2014-0009.

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© 2014 Peter Berry. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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