“Richmonders bear the brunt of heat emergencies unequally”

Jul 2, 2024 | by

Peter Braun, an analyst for Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, recently published A Heat Emergency: Urban Heat Exposure and Access to Refuge in Richmond, VA.

From the summary:

While human-caused climate change is driving average global temperatures to rise, some communities and neighborhoods in Richmond, Virginia experience hotter temperatures than others. This is largely due to a historical lack of government investment in Black and low-income neighborhoods. Hotter, less resourced neighborhoods experience more heat-related health emergencies like heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

This study found significant relationships between the location of heat-related illness Emergency Medical Services data from Richmond, Virginia and areas which are measurably hotter.

We also found that Richmond has insufficient publicly accessible places for people with limited mobility to escape the heat, including bus stop shelters, libraries, and government cooling centers.

Richmonders bear the brunt of heat emergencies unequally, with a higher proportion of heat emergencies among residents identified as Male, Black or African American, 50+ years old, and experiencing mental health, intoxication, and/or homelessness.

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