Extreme Heat Events

Extreme Heat Toolkit

Heat is a significant threat to public health in the United States. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), heat has claimed more lives on average over the past ten years than any other severe weather event. (NOAA, National Hazard Statistics) By the end of the 21st Century, heat-related deaths could more than triple in the U.S. (NRDC, Killer Summer Heat: Projected Death Toll from Rising Temperatures in America Due to Climate Change)

The purpose of the MDH Extreme Heat Toolkit is to provide information to local governments and public health professionals about preparing for and responding to extreme heat events. Extreme heat events can cause a number of health-related problems, including an increase in deaths (mortality) and nonfatal outcomes (morbidity). Yet, almost all of the negative health outcomes from extreme heat can be prevented by taking appropriate measures to ensure that the public stays cool and hydrated during an extreme heat event.

Download the entire Toolkit (excluding appendices) (PDF: 2.1MB/43 pages) See below for appendices.

toolkit cover

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Populations at Risk

MDH conducted a literature review to identify the populations most at risk for adverse health outcomes from extreme heat. These populations include but are not limited to the following:

  • Children less than 5 years-old
  • Elderly 65 years old and older
  • Elderly living alone
  • Economically constrained:
    • Population at or below poverty level
    • Population at or below 200% of poverty level

MDH developed a set of statewide maps of these populations by county subdivision (e.g., city, township, or unincorporated territory). These maps are intended to provide context for communities. All five maps and the associated Excel data table are provided for download below. Note that the map keys are based on quintiles and do not represent thresholds of health significance.

Click the thumbnail of the map or the link above each map to download the full size (11" x 17") PDF.

Children Less Than 5 (PDF: 575KB/2 pages)
percent of population less than 5 years old by county subdivision in minnesota
Elderly 65 and Older (PDF: 575KB/2 pages)
percent of population 65 years or older by county subdivision in minnesota
Elderly Living Alone (PDF: 575KB/2 pages)
percent of elderly living alone by county subdivision in minnesota
Population at or below Poverty
(PDF: 575KB/2 pages)
percent of population living below poverty level by county subdivision in minnesota
Population at or below 200% of Poverty
(PDF: 575KB/2 pages)
percent of population living below 200% of the poverty level by county subdivision in minnesota

Excel file for populations at risk by county subdivision:
Populations at Risk by County Subdivision (XLS: 600KB)

Example heat vulnerability assessment:
Brown-Nicollet Community Health Board Example Extreme Heat Vulnerability Assessment (PDF: 633KB/9 pages)

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Extreme Heat Training Module

extreme heat image MDH developed the Extreme Heat Training Module to provide an overview of extreme heat events, public health implications, and strategies for individuals and local public health professionals. This module can be used as an educational piece for interested persons or as a "train the trainer" module for local public health departments. The training has been fully scripted for that purpose.

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Updated Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 08:53AM