State Prepares for Future Heat Waves

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, July 10, 2007

After more than130 Californians died in last summer’s heat wave, the state created an emergency plan. It includes opening cooling centers, working with local agencies to protect the vulnerable, and a toll-free heat hotline.  Democratic Senator Dean Florez called a hearing to see how the plan worked during the recent triple-digit heat.  He says the verdict is mixed: 

 “I think we’re in better shape than we were last year, but  clearly we have some holes in our plan.  If there is a rolling blackout, and our grid gets strained, the fact is, we may turn off the power on the more vulnerable populations.”

Rick Martinez with Sacramento County’s Emergency Operations Office says very few people actually use cooling centers -- and there’s a limit to what the state or county can do:

“At some point when an individual chooses not to turn on their air conditioner, I don’t know that government in general can tell them to do that or reach in and push the on button.”

Florez says he’ll consider legislation requiring apartment owners in hot areas to install air conditioning.