Online Program

Preparing for extreme heat events in Maine (You've Got to be Kidding!)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Andrew Smith, SM, ScD., Environmental and Occupational Health Programs, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Augusta, ME
Extreme heat events (EHEs) lasting more than two days are historically rare in Maine. However, climate model predictions suggest extreme heat events (≥ 2 days with a maximum heat index (HI) ≥95) will become more frequent and of longer duration. Air conditioning (AC) is considered the primary strategy for coping with an extreme heat event, with limited evidence suggesting central AC is more effective than window units in reducing heat-related morbidity and mortality. EHEs in areas not used to such weather and without heat response plans in place have been associated with significant morbidity and mortality. This presentation will discuss work in Maine to assess the potential for future EHEs, develop public health systems to track the public health impact associated with EHEs, and assess Maine's capacity to respond to a EHE. Predictions based on the latest global modeling outputs (WRF modeling using IPCC AR5 RCP 8.5 Forcing) indicate that many communities in Maine could see the number of days with a HI ≥ 95 increase 2¨C5 fold by 2050. New survey data indicates only 53% of Maine homes have AC, and over 90% of these are window units. Leveraging an existing syndromic surveillance system, Maine has developed and tested a heat illness syndrome for use during EHEs, and has completed an initial evaluation of this system by comparing it with hospitalization data. Current work to evaluate the protectiveness of the National Weather Service threshold for issuing a heat advisory for the Northeast forecast region will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Describe how Maine has developed and used “real-time” surveillance systems for heat illness during extreme heat events Describe new data collected on air conditioning prevalence in Maine, and how data was reviewed for Northeast Discuss how climate model predictions of number of days of extreme heat events in the northeast by 2050 have been used in Maine.

Keyword(s): Climate Change, Disease Data

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator for the CDC Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative grant in Maine.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.