Health & Safety
There is a strong relationship between human health and environmental health. From the air we breathe to the water we drink and use, life on Earth depends on the natural resources and the environment around us. Changes in climate, such as higher average temperatures and increased storm frequency and intensity, can intensify public health stressors.1 These impacts endanger public health and safety by affecting the natural systems we rely upon. As the climate continues to change, the risks to human health continue to grow.
Health & Safety Strategies
Below are the specific Health & Safety goals outlined in the 2022 Environmental Sustainability Plan. Clicking on one of them will display the list of actions to be incorporated into the Village's workplans. They are broken down into completed, in-progress, and future and progress is updated quarterly.
- Assist the community’s populations who are vulnerable to air quality, extreme temperature, flooding, and power/infrastructure failure in preparing for and mitigating climate change impacts.
- Continue to provide information to the community regarding cooling centers to ensure vulnerable residents are aware of these services, including direct messaging at community facilities and through health providers, translated to the community’s top non-English languages. Cooling center locations should be located to maximize accessibility by vulnerable populations, particularly those with limited mobility access, and provided with permanent signage.
- Make emergency communications available in multiple languages and platforms. The community’s top non-English languages should be addressed in the multiple-language communication plan. Platforms used should focus specifically on reaching the community’s top vulnerable populations identified in the Village's Climate Vulnerability Assessment.
- Conduct climate change impacts and adaptation training, including training to recognize and respond to physical and behavioral signs of heat-related illness, for law enforcement, fire, and other Village staff working outdoors.
- Establish a resilient home-inspection referral list to provide voluntary on-site home reviews to identify possible resilience improvements such as flood mitigation strategies, improved weatherization, vegetative shading, etc. Explore a partnership with other agencies including Cook County, ComEd, and local schools.
- Research the development of a transportation-assistance program for individuals without access to vehicles, such as providing travel vouchers to vulnerable individuals to use during extreme weather or extreme heat emergencies. Explore partners and funding options for program implementation.
- Collaborate with providers and others to improve awareness of the potential mental health impacts of climate change, signs to watch for, and available supportive resources.
- Provide education and resources about climate risks to the public, especially those most vulnerable to potential impacts of high-heat and extreme weather. Include an Emergency Response Toolkit offering tips and suggestions for residents to increase their emergency preparedness, and increase awareness of Village and other alert systems.
- Establish a communication campaign in alignment with the American Public Health Association Policy Number: 201711 and educate the public about the hazards of air pollution, including indoor air quality, and the steps individuals can take such as reducing and eliminating fossil fuel use, and available resources to reduce their exposure. Communication campaign to include translation of education and resource materials into the community’s top non-English languages, and shared via communication platforms typically relied upon for information by those populations.
- Develop and deploy early-warning response and community-alert plans and systems to notify residents and businesses, especially those most vulnerable, of poor air quality days, extreme weather events, extreme temperature events, potential energy and communication infrastructure failure, or other events which may pose health risks. Communication plan to include pathways for when community power and communication systems are non-functional.
- Ensure that the Village's mission-critical, emergency services, and health care facilities are prepared for impacts of air quality, extreme heat, and cold, flooding, and power/infrastructure failure.
- Support response to severe storm and flooding event debris management by including optional, per-unit pricing for debris management into Village's condo refuse and tree pruning and removal contracts.
- Establish inter-governmental agreements on mutual aid with current community partners such as school districts, park district, and Oakton Community College.
- Strengthen emergency management capacity to prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change. The Village should prioritize capacity improvements such as training and equipment to address risks exacerbated by climate change. Emergency management should be equipped to address the possibility of multiple emergencies at the same time, such as the combination of wildfire smoke coupled with extreme heat and local brush fires.
- Prepare for public buildings to be used in different ways, both in lower-impact ways, such as seniors using the library to cool down during hot days, and as safe-havens during acute emergencies. Integrate these concepts in all Village facility design and renovation design processes and considerations.
- Strengthen community response capacity and social support networks for populations who are vulnerable to air quality, extreme temperature, flooding, and power/infrastructure failure impacts.
- Evaluate outreach responsibilities and/or volunteer network to support resilience contact list outreach implementation in times of distress such as during/after extreme weather events, particularly when they involve grid disruption.
- Promote equity in hazard mitigation, emergency response, and recovery activities. Consider populations most vulnerable to weather-related emergencies in all plans, including evacuation routes, transportation for vulnerable population groups, shelter-i- place locations, back-up power operations, extended access to fuel/power sources and drinking water, etc.
- Review and evaluate community networks and connections for those who require special attention or assistance during or after extreme weather events (heat, cold, and heavy precipitation). Develop a Resilience Contact List for the Village and any community partners, updated annually, to be utilized during times of distress.