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Launching a heat campaign? Start by setting your goals

Launching a heat campaign? Start by setting your goals

The purpose of the goal setting exercise is to begin brainstorming your overall goals and some key logistical components of your CAPA Heat Watch campaign. For instance, what are the most important goals of your potential partner organizations and volunteer networks? How do you envision leveraging your process and results to influence resiliency planning efforts in your region? Based on when hot, clear weather usually occurs as well as planned events in and around your community, what dates seem likely for training and mapping?

It may be helpful to track your progress on these points in a separate document, both to communicate with your team and compile progress notes in a single location. 

Who will be leading your core team?

Heat campaigns are designed to be a relatively easy lift compared to the impact of your returns. A local organizer will be key to recruiting relevant stakeholders, coordinating volunteers, communicating with CAPA, and receiving and returning equipment. 

Look for: A point person who has 15 - 25 hours available over the course of 2 - 3 months, ideally with existing relationships to relevant groups and familiarity with the basic concepts of urban heat and heat mapping. If not, no worries - knowledge about urban heat can be bolstered through CAPA’s informational materials and communication.

How do you envision using your heat campaign results? What audiences do you want to share them with?

Compile an inventory of completed, planned, or ongoing heat-related projects in your community. What plans, documents, and datasets already exist, and who are the key leaders involved in those projects? You’ll want to be sure to contact these leaders, to build on their results and gain their support for your efforts.

Look for: Climate adaptation plans, vulnerability and/ or risk assessments, collaborative initiatives, and relevant organizations. 

What other data are you interested in correlating with your heat data? How might the existing products or projects benefit from these data? Who else might be interested? 

Look for: Ongoing human health and heat initiatives, advocacy organizations relating to human vulnerability and health, organizations relating to tree cover/ canopy, sustainable/ adapted development initiatives, etc. 

How might public media, including TV, radio, and local newspapers help to advance your goals? We’ve found that the combination of weather-relevant visual information and the need for understanding differences in temperature across an urban area makes great media content and publicity.  

Look for: Press release templates, local organizations with press connections or their own networks and platforms, and opportunities for sharing media. Consider groups working with public health, climate action planning, urban forestry, and planning agencies. 

Which areas of your city do you want to be sure to include in your heat map? What is the total area you want to map?

Depending on how large an area your city covers, you may want to traverse the entire city or select a subsection of it. Can you cover areas that represent the full range of your demographics? Do particular problem areas or areas of interest come to mind? For which areas would your partner be interested in having data?

Look for: Development patterns, demographics, or geographic features in your proposed study area. Also consider areas targeted for particular initiatives or plans, or areas often discussed regarding equity, access, health, history, etc. 

When is your target campaign date range and who would you like to participate?

As you launch into engagement and volunteer recruitment, it is helpful to establish a target date range for conducting your campaign. 

Look for: Historical weather data that shows the time of highest temperatures in your region.  As you get closer to your target date, keep an eye on weather forecasts and potential interruptions such as cloud-cover or rain. Your ideal campaign date is a clear day in the top tenth percentile of temperature ranges for your area. 

Once this data range is established, you can begin reaching out to groups that have solid connections to a volunteer base. You will want to recruit at least two volunteers for each ten square mile area to be traversed, with a handful of back-ups as well. 

Look for: Community/environmental organizations with an established volunteer base; non-related groups that might benefit from exposure to accessible climate-related topics; friends, family, coworkers, or others looking to learn more about heat distribution, community science, and/ or local engagement in general.

With these points addressed, you will be well on your way to setting goals and conducting a successful, meaningful, and effective heat campaign! Keep an eye out for continued resources from the Heat Beat Newsletter, and feel free to reach out to for further questions or concerns. 


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About Us

NIHHIS is an integrated information system that builds understanding of the problem of extreme heat, defines demand for climate services that enhance societal resilience, develops science-based products and services from a sustained climate science research program, and improves capacity, communication, and societal understanding of the problem in order to reduce morbidity and mortality due to extreme heat.  NIHHIS is a jointly developed system by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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