SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California could become the first state in the country to have a ranking system for heatwaves.
The system would be similar to the way hurricanes, tornados and air quality are categorized.READ MORE: Dramatic Price Drop At Pump Draws Drivers To Galt Gas Station
Climate change experts say extreme heat kills more people than any other climate-related hazard. That’s why a group of California lawmakers is introducing a bill to treat it as an emergency.
Extreme heat. It’s a problem Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia says we can no longer ignore.
“It’s November and it’s 95 degrees in the Coachella and Imperial valley,” he said.
Garcia is one of a handful of lawmakers pushing the bill to establish three categories of heatwaves: one being the least dangerous and three being the most.
The levels would be based on both the heat intensity and health effects.READ MORE: Jewelry Store Owner Says Suspects Stole 300K Worth of Merchandise
“The whole goal here is to minimize the loss of life and illness as it relates to extreme heat,” Garcia said.
The system would include guidance on what the public should do during a major heat event and could contain plans to suspend power outages, provide backup generators, air conditioners or access to more cooling centers to those in need.
It could also send search and rescue teams to do welfare checks on the most vulnerable.
“Prioritizing these hot days will allow us to lean in and make sure we can adjust and intentionally prioritize resources,” Garcia said.
While critics argue a ranking system is unnecessary, Garcia maintains heat will continue to be a silent killer if we fail to take it more seriously.
“I think it will be a good conversation to have and something that many Californians will definitely agree is a good idea.,” he said.MORE NEWS: Armed Robbers Steal $300K Worth Of Items From Jeweler In South Sacramento
This bill will be introduced when legislators are back in session in January. And if it gets the green light, a heatwave ranking system could be in place by 2023.