CSAC Bulletin Article

CalHHS Initiates Extreme Heat Activities

July 13, 2023

Yesterday, California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS) Secretary Mark Ghaly directed the Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Emergency Management Services Authority (EMSA) to stand up the Medical and Health Coordination Center (MHCC) pursuant to the state emergency plan at Level 4 (lowest level) for coordination in response to the extreme heat events.

The Secretary also directed the California Department of Aging, Department of Rehabilitation, Department of Developmental Services, Department of State Hospitals, Department of Health Care Access and Information, Department of Social Services, and Department of Health Care Services to each identify a liaison to the MHCC to ensure that a whole-of-Agency response is available and coordinating activities and efforts.

CalHHS has also activated the Priority Populations Task Force which looks to ensure that coordination is occurring across state government with regard to supports and services for our most vulnerable neighbors. CalHHS is co-chairing this Task Force with CalOES.

Note: Counties may reach out to their Medical Health Operational Area Coordination (MHOAC) program contact for any resource requests. The complete list of contacts can be found online, here.

Additionally, the Governor this week launched heatreadyca.com a comprehensive website with resources for the public.

CalHHS’ messaging is focused on the following steps each individual can take to prepare:

Stay Cool (During the Hottest Times of the Day) 

  • If you are getting too hot, take a short, cool shower and stay in an air-conditioned area
  • Those without air conditioning should check with their city or county for cooling centers or visit public locations such as a library or shopping mall
  • Avoid physical exertion or exercising outdoors
  • Wear lightweight, light colored, loose clothing, and when outside, wear hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen 

Stay Hydrated 

  • Don’t wait until you are thirsty. Make water your go-to drink. Drink water early … and often
  • Drink sports drinks (in moderation with water) to help replace electrolytes lost during exercise
  • Avoid sugary, alcoholic, and very cold drinks
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

Stay Connected 

  • Check on each other, especially those at high risk of heat-related illness including infants and young children, people 65 years of age or older, individuals with chronic illness, disabilities or who are pregnant
  • Use a buddy system when working in the heat

Stay Informed

  • Check your local news for weather forecasts, extreme heat alerts, and cooling centers.
  • Know the warning signs of heat-related illness (Heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea or vomiting, paleness, fatigue, light headedness or dizziness). If you feel any of these symptoms, move to a cooler location immediately. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention.
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