This module supports the synthesis of the preceding planning steps into a feasible and implementable heat action plan. This step focuses on prioritizing strategies and developing an action plan with clear goals, roles, and responsibilities; budgets and timelines; and phasing to seek approval or adoption and transition to implementation.
What is a Heat Action Plan?
A heat action plan is a document that integrates a portfolio of actions at different levels to respond to and reduce heat-related risks. Generally, these plans bring together a broad set of actors from different sectors in an effort to increase coordination and collaboration at the preparation, response, and recovery stages of heat disaster management. These plans may contain both short-term and long-term solutions, and often contain an agreed-upon plan of action outlining roles and responsibilities between departments/sectors, both internal and external to a municipal or national government.
The best heat action plans involve a whole-system approach, not only considering building codes and energy needs but also public health concerns and economic impacts. If stakeholders across the community are involved from the beginning, buy-in and support will greatly enhance the impact of the plan. Also, as this may be a new policy for the community, establishing a heat leader for the community to hear from regularly will help people understand and follow the process in a clear way. If there are regional or national frameworks already in place, developing synergy with these plans can help increase the impact. Finally, establishing clear goals and strategies to improve the heat situation in the community is important, and tracking the progress in this plan will build success for future initiatives.
Resources on creating a heat action plan:
- California Heat Action Plan
See the State of California’s Heat Action Plan as a US-based example.
- Beating the Heat
For a basic action plan development process, see pages 43-47 from the Beating the Heat handbook developed by the UN Environment Programme’s Cool Coalition, the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Clean Cooling Collaborative, Mission Innovation, and the Global Covenant of Mayors.
If stakeholders across the community are involved from the beginning, buy in and support will greatly enhance the impact of the plan.
Developing a Heat Action Plan
Identify the stakeholders needed to implement the plan, and generally what agency or department will take the lead on the plan. Your plan may be multifaceted, for example, involving communications and built infrastructure aspects. Be clear about who is responsible for implementing each aspect.
As educating and communicating with the public regarding heat measures will be an important facet of any heat action plan, develop a communications strategy, keep in mind the stakeholders and vulnerable populations previously identified in [the “Assess” phase] and the work done in Develop an Education and Engagement Strategy.
Resources on developing a heat action plan:
- Beating the Heat
For a more detailed framework in developing a heat action plan to address heat seasons, see pages 158-161 from the Beating the Heat handbook developed by the Cool Coalition, the UN Environment Programme, RMI, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, Mission Innovation and Clean Cooling Collaborative.
- Heat-Health Action Plan
For additional recommendations, see the action plan guidance developed by the World Health Organization’s Regional Office.
- NRDC description of women community leaders in Ahmedabad
For an example of public engagement and empowering local community leaders in heat response planning, see the Natural Resources Defense Council’s description of women community leaders in Ahmedabad, India.
A policy implementation plan will need to be developed. Laws or local rules may need to be updated. Regular meetings may need to be scheduled for coordination between the governing bodies. Financing models, discussed in the previous module may need to be explored.
If your plan is short term in nature, identify the triggers that will put your plan in motion, such as heat index or wet bulb temperature, and what the cascading actions are.
Resources on heat action plan triggers:
- Ahmedabad, India’s Heat Action Plan
For an example of triggers and cascading actions, see page 14 of the city of Ahmedabad resilience tool kit.
If your plan is longer term in nature regarding built and/or natural infrastructure to mitigate and adapt to extreme heat, a timeline will need to be developed to implement the solutions previously identified in Explore Heat Adaptation Solutions.
Resource on heat action plan timelines:
- Western Sydney’s Action Plan
For an example of a timeline for implementing solutions, see page 37 of the action plan of Western Sydney, a region of metropolitan area with multiple local governments.
You’ve completed Create a Heat Action Plan.
Please contact Kurt Shickman, Director of Extreme Heat Initiatives at the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.