Stay Cool and Safe: How to Use the CDC’s HeatRisk Dashboard to Track Heat Risks in Your Neighborhood

As summer 2024 promises to bring record-breaking heat waves, it's crucial to stay informed about the daily temperatures in your community. Heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the US, according to the EPA, but many of these tragedies can be prevented with the right information and resources. Proper hydration, cool environments, and awareness are key to staying safe during what could be the hottest summer yet.

Heat Facts with a blue sky and man pushing a lawnmower

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures without adequate cooling resources can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. To help manage this public health issue, the CDC has introduced the HeatRisk Dashboard. This tool provides easy access to daily heat forecasts, associated health risks, and preventive measures like staying hydrated and how to recognize heatstroke symptoms.

How A ThermApparel Cooling Vest Can Help You In The Heat

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Discovering Your Neighborhood's Heat Risk

Here's how to use the HeatRisk Dashboard and it’s simple. Enter your ZIP code in the "Get your local HeatRisk" section, and you'll see a scale indicating the heat risk level for your area, from "no risk" to "extreme." For instance, on June 19 Rochester, NY the heat risk was “Extreme," meaning it was unsafe for outdoor activities, and cautioned anyone sensitive to heat not to spend prolonged periods outside.

Heat Risk for Monroe County

Text saying what to do when HeatRisk is Exteme

The dashboard also offers “Actions you can take to protect your health” and the “HeatRisk Forecast” for the coming week in your area so you can plan outdoor activities. 

Text box saying Actions you can take to protect your health

Image showing the HeatRisk Forecast for Monroe County NY

Understanding the Broader Picture

The HeatRisk Dashboard is part of the CDC’s comprehensive Heat and Health Tracker initiative. The dashboard features a US map showing heat-related emergency medical visits per 100,000 total visits by region, highlighting the severity of the public health threat. By scrolling down, you can compare daily rates of emergency room visits, offering a clear picture of how heat is impacting health nationwide.

This data, developed in collaboration with NOAA’s National Weather Service, accounts for factors like humidity and community-specific heat vulnerabilities.

Do You Know Your HeatIQ?

Image of fire and sign saying hot summer ahead and crafting a personalized cooling plan


Stay Informed and Prepared

For health centers and hospitals, this information is vital for anticipating patient needs during heat waves. For individuals, it’s a tool for understanding personal risk. People with certain medical conditions, older adults, and young children are especially vulnerable to heat-related illnesses and should take extra precautions to stay cool.

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions or health goals.

For More Tips on Staying Safe in the Heat, Explore Heat-Related Information and How to Craft Your Own Cooling Plan

Part 1: Improve you #HeatIQ

Part 2: Why a Cooling Plan is Important

Part 3: Personal Risk Factors

Part 4: Environmental Factors of Heat-Related Illness

Part 5: Actions You Can Take

Part 6: Building the Ultimate Cooling Toolbox

Part 7: How a ThermAppare Cooling Vest Can Help You In The Heat