Turner & McKnight bill would help shelter at-risk individuals during extreme heat


A bill sponsored by state Senators Shirley Turner (D-15) and Angela McKnight (D-31) would create a Code Red alert pilot program to help shelter at-risk individuals during extreme heat.

Assemblywoman Angela McKnight. Instagram photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Due to climate change, extreme heat events are becoming more frequent and intense in New Jersey. These heat waves can be dangerous and deadly, especially for those who are elderly or homeless,” Turner said in a statement.

“Implementing a Code Red alert pilot program that provides air-conditioned spaces and water to the public will build our community’s resilience to extreme heat and save lives.”

Under Bill S-2346, the three-year Code Red alert pilot program would be coordinated by a county’s Office of Emergency Management, in partnership with municipal emergency service providers, social service agencies, and certain non-profit organizations that serve homeless populations.

“New Jersey already has a Code Blue program in place for periods of extreme cold. Implementing a Code Red pilot program for the warmer months will expand our strategy to protect individuals during all kinds of extreme temperatures and strengthen public health,” added McKnight.

“This pilot program can alleviate the burden on hospitals treating heat-related illnesses and assist urban areas with larger homeless populations that have limited access to air conditioning.”

A Code Red alert would be issued when the heat index forecasted by the National Weather Service is expected to reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit to 99 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 2 consecutive days, or the temperature is forecast to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more for any length of time.

A county governing body may apply to participate in the pilot program in a manner determined by the State Office of Emergency Management. The State Office of Emergency Management will select 10 counties in the state to participate in the pilot program.

The State Office of Emergency Management would also be required to submit a report to the Governor and Legislature on the program’s success and recommend whether or not to make the program permanent.

The bill advanced out of the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee in an 8-0 vote on Thursday.

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  1. This is laudable. I read an article that over 600 people in Pheonix, AZ died last year from heatstroke. They use school auditoriums as cooling centers during the summer but would kick people out at 10 PM because they said they didn’t have the extra $1 million to pay the electricity bill. This is ridiculous. How can a city as large as Phoenix or a county as large as Maricopa County not be able to come up with $1 million?? They have to have budgets in the billions of dollars since Jersey City, a city of 300k, has a municipal budget of $700 million. This is a shocking reminder of how people don’t care for the nobodies of society. We just sent Ukraine over $60 BILLION a couple of months ago, which is on top of the $160 BILLION we have already given them. It’s a sad and corrupt world we live in.