Interior Health is taking an innovative approach to climate change by creating Community Health and Climate Change maps.
The maps will help governments and municipalities plan by helping them understand climate-sensitive areas that could impact their building or expansion projects. The maps, created by Interior Health’s Healthy Communities program, focus on four commonly experienced climate-related hazards in B.C.:
- High Temperatures
- Low Temperatures
- Wildfire Smoke
“Recent events have demonstrated the importance of planning and preparing for natural disasters associated with climate change,” says Interior Health president and CEO, Susan Brown. “These new Community Health and Climate Change maps will support the safety and wellbeing of people living across the region and we encourage everyone to take the opportunity now to plan for the effects of climate change.”
The maps have been developed for each regional district within Interior Health and offer a snapshot in time to help governments and residents project risks and probabilities related to weather events in the Interior. The maps will not only help with city planning but can also help define resource allocation during natural disasters.
“The maps show the communities that are most vulnerable to different climate hazards and allow us to focus our efforts and work together to plan and prepare,” says Dr. Sue Pollock, Chief Medical Health Officer.
“For example, the maps show communities that may be more affected by heat; this information helps us identify appropriate actions that communities can take in order to keep people healthy and safe.”
According to Interior Health's new website, climate change is projected to increase climate-related hazards in British Columbia, including the frequency and severity of river flooding, wildfires and wildfire smoke events, as well as extreme heat and cold events.