Center for Health
and the Global
Climate Health and Risk Tool

Cooling Centers

by Jeremy J. Hess, MD, MPH
Published: 06/10/2023

Cooling centers are cool public or private spaces that welcome people seeking shelter from heat. Ideally, cooling center interventions include communication plans to promote awareness and transportation plans to promote access. There are no studies on their effectiveness, though retrospective observational studies show a protective effect of visiting cool spaces during heat waves, and laboratory simulations show a protective effect while in the cool space that diminishes quickly after heat exposure resumes. Cooling centers leveraging existing spaces can be implemented quickly and cheaply, but more comprehensive planning and service provision requires additional costs. There are no estimates of the resources or timing required to implement a cooling center intervention.

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