Minnesota Extreme Heat Toolkit

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)’s Extreme Heat Toolkit offers information, tools, and resources to local governments and public health professionals about preparing for and responding to extreme heat events. The toolkit focuses on Minnesota examples and processes and describes practical, implementable steps and strategies to prevent morbidity and mortality from extreme heat at the local level. The toolkit also provides several appendices, including a generic heat response plan that can be tailored to meet the needs of a specific location. 

This resource was featured in the July 27, 2017, ASAP Newsletter.

"The Minnesota Department of Health created the Extreme Heat Toolkit to help local governments and public health professionals prepare for and respond to extreme heat events. A new video, jointly created with the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, introduces the state’s approach to tackling this public health risk and connects rural and urban communities with resources to help plan for and mitigate the effects of heat waves."

The report describes the magnitude of health consequences from extreme heat, changing weather conditions in Minnesota, and the National Weather Service’s definitions of extreme heat. The second chapter, “Extreme Heat Events and Public Health,” discusses health illnesses caused by extreme heat and characteristics or risk factors that increase a person’s risk for heat-related illnesses.

MDH has built statewide maps at the county level of at-risk communities that present five vulnerability characteristics (which can be found in Appendix H):

  1. Percent of population 65 years old and older
  2. Percent of population less than 5 years old
  3. Percent of population 65 years old and older living alone
  4. Percent of population living below the poverty level
  5. Percent of population living below 200% of the poverty level.

MDH also provides detail on the “Characteristics that increase the risk of heat-related illnesses” which links the characteristics to appropriate data sources including: a source that contains summarized/tabulated data at the county level, and another source that contains raw data for lead agencies that may want to create maps or summaries at smaller geographic levels, such as cities or census tracts.


The third chapter, “Preparing Minnesota for Extreme Heat Events,” describes key steps in preparing for and responding to an extreme heat event, how to develop a heat response plan, and strategies for preventing heat-related illnesses and deaths. This chapter also details the efforts made by MDH to support vulnerable populations when facing extreme heat in Minnesota. MDH created maps and data sources to aid local public health departments in locating their community’s vulnerable populations, and in recognizing stressors that increase the risk of heat-related illness.


Publication Date: June 6, 2012

Related Organizations:

  • Minnesota Department of Health


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Best practice

States Affected:


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