Heat alert and response systems (HARS) across Canada

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About heat alert and response systems (HARS)

Some communities in Canada and internationally are developing heat alert and response systems (HARS) to prepare for extreme heat events. These systems are made up of 5 parts:

Figure 1. Community HARS and preventative actions to reduce heat-health risks
Figure 1. Text version below.
Figure 1 - Text description

The figure includes information about the different parts of a community HARS with preventative actions to reduce heat-health risks. The figure is a circle with 4 layers.

The outer layer is labelled "preventative actions."

The next layer in shows the 7 specific preventative actions. They are: reduce urban heat island effect, promote healthy communities and individuals, modify transportation policies, improve social capital and social networks, build climate resiliency, assess heat-health vulnerability and reduce green-house gases.

The third layer in is labelled "heat alert and response system."

The fourth layer in has 5 core elements depicted as 5 puzzle pieces. They are labelled: alert protocol, community response plan, communications plan, evaluation plan, and community mobilization and engagement.

Each puzzle piece contains text related to the 5 core elements.

The alert protocol text says identify heat-health risks, and activate and deactivate the communication and response plans.

The community response plan text says stakeholder outreach and assist vulnerable people. The communication plan text says increase awareness, deliver education about adaptation, connect partners, and alert citizens and stakeholders.

The evaluation plan text says validate measures, identify improvement opportunities, and improve HARS.

The community mobilization and engagement puzzle piece has no text but overlaps with the alert protocol, community response plan, communication plan, and evaluation plan.

How we are helping advance HARS across Canada

Health Canada’s goal is to help health regions and communities across Canada prepare for and respond to extreme heat.

Health Canada can support health regions across Canada to:

Health Canada also hosts a community of practice (national network of health partners) that provides a venue for Canadian health authorities to collaborate and share best practices on extreme heat responses. Participants in the community of practice include extreme heat experts and health authorities across Canada.

Contact us

Climate Change and Innovation Bureau
Safe Environments Directorate
Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch
Health Canada
269 Laurier West
Address Locator: 4909B
Ottawa ON K1A 0K9
Email: hc.ccib-bcci.sc@canada.ca

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