Policy Solution

Heat hotlines

Awareness and Engagement


Summary: Heat hotines are telephone helplines that can provide information during a heat wave to members of the public. Hotline operators can share information on how to access cooling resources like cooling centers, identify symptoms of heat-related illness in real-time, and connect users with emergency services as necessary. Heat hotlines can prevent heat-related illness and death by connecting users with resources.

Implementation: Establish a telephone hotline to provide real-time advice to members of the public on extreme heat and resources for cooling.

Considerations for Use: Depending on climate, hotlines can be active year-round or at select high-risk times of year (e.g. seasonally or during a heat wave).

  • Policy Levers: The mechanism municipalities can use to actualize the intervention. These policy levers will likely be used in combination with each other.

    Awareness and EngagementGovernments may design and operate programs with the goal of increasing awareness and engagement among constituents or stakeholder groups about the risks and opportunities of extreme heat.
  • Trigger Points: Opportunities for municipalities to implement risk reduction and preparedness interventions based on the policy lever, building on the United Nations Environment Programme triggers used in the Beating the Heat handbook (2021).

    No-regrets actions (low cost/low effort but substantial benefit)Interventions that are relatively low-cost and low effort (in terms of requisite dependencies) but have substantial environmental and/or social benefits.
  • Intervention Type:
  • Sectors:
    Disaster Risk Management  , Informal Settlements, Public Health


  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Heat-vulnerable communities, Residents
  • Phase of Impact:
    Emergency response and management
  • Metrics:
    Number of calls received


  • Intervention Scale:
    City, State/Province
  • Authority and Governance:
    City government, State/provincial government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Short-term (1-2 Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
    CBOs, City government
  • Funding Sources:
    Grants and philanthropy, Public investment
  • Capacity to Act:
    High, Medium


  • Cost-Benefit:
  • Public Good:
  • GHG Reduction:
  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
    Provide flood protection
  • Co-benefits (Social):
    Build social cohesion, Improve human health