Acting on a motion authored by Councilmember Paul Krekorian, Los Angeles has joined cities such as Miami, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Monterrey, Mexico; Athens, Greece; Freeport, Sierra Leone; and Santiago de Chile in naming an officer to oversee the City’s response to extreme heat events.
The current Director of the Office of Climate Emergency Mobilization, Marta Segura, has been named to serve as the City’s first Chief Heat Officer (CHO). Director Segura is the first Latina to be named to such a position in the United States.
The CHO will work with the Departments of Planning, Emergency Management, Recreation and Parks, and Building and Safety, as well as with StreetsLA and the Department of Water and Power to prepare a Heat Action Plan containing an early warning system, interagency emergency response plan, and long-term strategies to reduce exposure.
Among the strategies the CHO will pursue with the relevant departments will be public information campaigns educating the public about the dangers of extreme heat and the available remedies and resources. Measures will be developed to improve the network of public cooling centers, expand the urban tree canopy and create more green spaces, Cool Streets, and shade hubs. Building codes may be updated to ensure that all new buildings include provision for adequate cooling, and standards for energy-efficient construction may be adjusted to reduce the impact of extreme heat on the power grid.