Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA (LDR-EPA) recently joined with environmental,educational, and health-related agencies to visit the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center to teach older adults about the impact of extreme heat on their health and homes and how to best combat these circumstances.
Thanks to the proactive advocacy of Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA, this is the first time that climate scientists, environmentalists, and energy and health professionals in the Philadelphia metropolitan area integrated disaster preparation and the effects of intense heat on seniors as part of a broad discussion on how to plan for and manage extreme weather.
“It’s important to join the knowledge and tools used in disaster preparation with a conversation around extreme weather. Our area is already experiencing hotter summers. According to the Philadelphia Department of Health, between 1948 and 2014 the Philadelphia average daily temperature has been rising at .4°F per year,” says Julia Menzo, coordinator of LDR-EPA.
The focus on older adults is especially necessary because this population is particularly at risk in extreme heat. “Older adults are more likely to be living on a fixed income and may not have ready access to information or resources, or know how to access information in times of emergency,” says Julia.
Partners who joined with LDR-EPA to provide the workshop included the Clean Air Council, Drexel University, the Energy Coordinating Agency, the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium, and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
The comprehensive workshop covered the practical improvements older adults can make in their home environment to help reduce dampness and mold, conserve energy, and regulate indoor temperature. In addition, it provided information on local resources that are available in extreme weather conditions, as well as a review of Philadelphia’s new extreme heat plan.