Beat the Heat

Helping Hoosiers cope with extreme heat

With average annual temperatures increasing across Indiana, Hoosiers are becoming more familiar with the risks of extreme heat, which include heat-related illness and death.

To help local governments develop and implement heat relief strategies and response protocols, ERI and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) launched the “Beat the Heat” program. The goal of the program is to create sustainable, long-term projects, programs, and educational materials that help residents cope with hot days and the public health impacts associated with heat.

In 2021, Clarksville and Richmond were selected to participate in the two-year program, with each community receiving funding for a full-time heat relief coordinator. In consultation with ERI, the coordinators are working with community members and leading assessments that identify the most vulnerable people and hottest places on high-heat days.

In addition to funding for a new staff member and costs associated with program activities, each Beat the Heat community is receiving hospital and emergency management services data related to how hot days and nights impact residents’ health as well as a map of the community’s vulnerable populations.

Both Richmond and Clarksville are contributing to a national campaign to map the hottest parts of US cities, with guidance and technical support provided by CAPA Strategies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

View ERI’s fact sheet on extreme heat in Indiana

Questions about the “Beat the Heat” program can be submitted to erithelp@iu.edu or the ERI hotline: 833-ERI-ATIU (374-2848).