Peter Howe tracks a looming threat unfolding across the United States, one that causes more human casualties than floods, hurricanes and tornadoes combined — and one that you’ve perhaps never even thought much about.
Extreme-heat emergencies pose a serious and increasing threat to communities across the country. Whether or not people take these risks seriously tends to depend on where they live, said Howe, who is from the Department of Environment & Society in the Quinney College of Natural Resources.
Perceptions of the dangers of high-heat emergencies vary by state and demographic group in ways that reflect differences in the way those risks impact a community. Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino populations face bigger health impacts from extreme heat due to geographic, institutional and societal inequalities, and tend to be much more worried about those risks than white, non-Hispanic populations, he has found.
“If we know more about how people perceive risks of extreme heat, and the kinds of barriers they might have in responding to those risks, we can inform policy, communication strategies and improve the way our leadership can respond to those emergencies,” Howe said.
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