Minnesota Extreme Heat Toolkit

Posted on: 3/12/2021 - Updated on: 6/22/2023

Posted by

Kathryn Braddock


Extreme heat events can cause a number of health-related problems, including an increase in deaths (mortality) and nonfatal outcomes (morbidity). Yet, almost all of the negative health outcomes from extreme heat can be prevented by taking appropriate measures to ensure that the public stays cool and hydrated during an extreme heat event. As more counties and cities begin to prepare for extreme heat, it is hoped that Minnesota will experience fewer heat-related deaths and illnesses.

The purpose of this toolkit is to provide information to local governments and public health professionals about preparing for and responding to extreme heat events. The toolkit is organized into six interdependent chapters. The first three chapters contain the body of the toolkit, while the last three chapters include definitions, references and appendices. The first chapter, “Introduction to Extreme Heat Events,” 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. 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.

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 provides several appendices, including a generic heat response plan that can be tailored to meet the needs of a specific location. The toolkit does not describe comprehensive surveillance systems for morbidity and mortality from extreme heat because this would most likely occur only in a few jurisdictions in Minnesota or at the state level.

The goal of the toolkit is to increase Minnesota’s preparedness for extreme heat events, by providing information and resources to local governments and public health departments to create their own heat response plan.


  • Local governments and public health professionals


Minnesota Climate and Health Program Minnesota Department of Health Environmental Impacts

Managing Organizations

Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Climate and Health Program