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Miami-Dade mayor announces ‘Heat Season Campaign’ to combat extreme heat; names interim chief heat officer

Centralized cooling centers, cool pavements to be installed throughout county

(WPLG)

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava was joined by philanthropist Adrienne Arsht and other leaders Friday morning to announce a new initiative to combat extreme heat, which has become a growing climate threat.

Arsht opened the press conference by saying “heat isn’t just uncomfortable,” but is dangerous, especially for the elderly, pregnant women and those who work outdoors, and can often even be deadly.

The mayor added that the humidity in South Florida makes the heat even worse than in hot, dry areas.

She said the initiative will fall under the county’s broader Resilient305 initiative and various non-profit organizations will also be assisting in the effort, including the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center and The Miami Foundation.

As part of the “Heat Season Campaign,” the first ever heat plan will be created under a new task force to better inform and prepare the public for high temperatures.

The mayor said the plan will include the installation of shade structures at bus stops, centralized cooling centers, cool pavements and the expansion of successful, longstanding programs that we already have in the county, such as the Adopt a Tree program, by planting more trees which will create an “urban canopy.”

Jane Gilbert, managing principal of Resilience Consulting LLC, has been named the county’s first interim chief heat officer, which the mayor said is the first position of its kind in the world, and will oversee the initiative and co-chair the task force.

Gilbert will not be a county employee, but instead this will be an advisory position hosted by the Miami Foundation and funded by several organizations to help the county address our warming world.

The county will explore if this role should be a full-time county position in the future.

WATCH FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW:


About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."