In July 2019, over 400 heat-related emergency medical cases were recorded in Baltimore and at least six people died during the extreme heatwave that affected Maryland. These heat-related casualties are just one of the adverse effects of the scorching hot weather. That is aside from the inevitable power outage caused by overloaded power grids. But according to a collaborative study between the University of Maryland’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism and Capital News Service, people of color living in poverty-stricken neighborhoods suffered more during the heatwave.
This could be dangerous. It can be lethal for people who have life-threatening ailments like high blood pressure and heart diseases. The situation led the state to record a higher number of emergency medical cases during that time. If the power outages will continue, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) will have no use. A possibly deadly scenario could be prevented using these tips.
More Access to Portable Emergency Care
The study,dubbed as Code Red, discovered that many citizens will have a higher risk of having serious diseases when the heat index reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit or more. These include the elderly, the younger children, pregnant women, and those who have ailments that can get more severe due to extreme heat. Anyone who feels sick should immediately seek medical attention.
Yet, it may be difficult for those who are living in poverty may not have fast access to hospitals. They may not have enough cash to seek medical help. The state government can solve this situation by giving these people easy access to a heartstart onsite AED package and medicines. The state should also offer free first aid training programs. This will help anyone learn about the proper uses of defibrillators and other first-aid treatments to help save lives.
Plant More Trees
Using the data gathered in 2018, the researchers discovered that the neighborhoods in Baltimore with cooler temperatures have 10 times more trees compared to the areas with a higher heat index. The report mentioned that areas living in poverty have lesser tree covers. This is crucial since trees can counter the effect of the heatwave. People in these neighborhoods usually have no access to air conditioning for comfort. This makes them more at risk of having heat-affected diseases. To solve this, the residents and the city government must consider planting more trees in the problematic areas.
Because of the adverse effect of the heatwave in the city, the city government of Baltimore is already working to make everyone comfortable. They already had cool roofs installed in different areas. They also planted trees in vacant lots. These will give more shades to low-income neighborhoods. Because of these initiatives, it will not be long before Baltimore can combat the dangerous effects of a high heat index in the city.