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NOAA and Partners Hold Second Heat-Focused Tabletop Exercise

MARCH 6, 2023 — Extreme heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related illness and death in the United States, causing more fatalities in a typical year than hurricanes, tornadoes, severe storms, and floods. As climate change continues to increase the likelihood of weather extremes, the impacts of heat on communities—especially on their most vulnerable citizens—is likely to worsen.

NOAA and partners in Las Vegas; Phoenix; Miami; and Charleston, South Carolina, launched an 18-month project to help communities pinpoint local impacts of extreme heat. The pilot project, “Building Equitable Resilience to Extreme Heat,” will support state and local initiatives designed to reduce the negative health effects of extreme heat events, especially for disproportionately affected populations. 

As part of the overall project, each location will hold a tabletop exercise that is specifically designed for that location’s heat-related concerns. The second exercise in the series was held in Phoenix on Feb. 23-24, 2023. The planning team, led by OR&R's Disaster Preparedness Program, was comprised of many NOAA line office representatives and local Phoenix and surrounding area representatives.

This exercise, called “The Pressure Cooker,” focused on three objectives:

  • Review available options for extreme heat exposure reduction for the most at-risk groups in the Phoenix area.
  • Identify critical gaps in the response to extreme heat, with an emphasis on improving outcomes for the most at-risk groups.
  • Analyze and prioritize both short-term (one to two years) and long-term (10 to 15 years) exposure reduction solutions that can occur at various social levels (individual, community, municipality, etc.) for the most at-risk groups in the Phoenix area.

The exercise was attended by many local stakeholders in the Phoenix area, as well as throughout various levels of government.

The planning team is currently reviewing the notes and feedback to ensure a comprehensive after-action report, which is expected to be available in late May 2023.

Last updated Monday, March 13, 2023 10:27am PDT