NOAA and Partners Hold Third Heat-Focused Tabletop Exercise
MARCH 27, 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 third exercise in the series was held in Charleston on Mar. 14-15, 2023. The planning team, led by OR&R's Disaster Preparedness Program, was comprised of many NOAA line office representatives and local Charleston and surrounding area representatives.
This exercise, called “Lowcountry Boil,” focused on four objectives:
- Better understand heat, heat risk, and identify the existing roles, responsibilities, and resources of exercise participants that address heat and its impacts in the context of Charleston.
- Identify and strengthen pathways of communication across and within organizations and community groups related to high heat and heat risk to ensure that the health risks of high heat are being communicated to sectors, communities, and individuals.
- Identify critical gaps in our understanding of heat impacts and solutions in the Charleston area.
- Recommend solutions (action Plan for intervention, remediations) for both short (one to two years) and longer-term (10-15 years) that can occur at various social levels (individual, community, municipality, etc.).
The exercise was attended by many local stakeholders in the Charleston 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 mid-June 2023.