Volunteers for Kansas Community Heat Mapping Campaign Needed

Published on July 05, 2023

Copy of Spot the Hot Post #5

Press Release Source and Date:
Johnson County Health & Environment and Wyandotte County Public Health Department
Wednesday, July 5, 2023 

This summer, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) and Wyandotte County Public Health Department (WYCO PHD) are teaming up with community volunteers to identify hotspots, called heat islands, in both counties.

On one of the hottest days of the summer, staff and volunteers from the community will hit the streets of Johnson and Wyandotte County to collect data about the distribution of heat as part of a regional effort to map where people are most at risk during extreme heat waves.

"The distribution of heat is not felt equally among our communities. This campaign will show us exactly where the hot spots in Johnson and Wyandotte Counties are and will lead to the development of community-driven strategies to lessen the burden of extreme heat in our neighborhoods”, says Jackson Ward, JCDHE epidemiologist.

“Places with more buildings and unshaded roads create ‘heat islands’ that tend to be hotter than in areas with more green space,” said Hannah Conner, WYCO PHD Social Epidemiologist. “This increases the risk for respiratory illnesses, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and heat-related deaths. We know that neighborhoods most impacted by historical discriminatory policies, like redlining, tend to feel the brunt of this higher heat. By having a more detailed map of the hottest places in our counties, we will know where to focus future work to reduce those negative effects of increased heat on our community members.”

Community volunteers are needed to collect data three times on Campaign Day – early morning, afternoon and evening. Volunteers can sign up for one, two or all three shifts. Volunteers may sign up as a team if they have friends or family who would like to participate. Volunteer opportunities include drivers, navigators to help guide drivers, and “Heat Hub” volunteers who will assist at one of our volunteer check-in locations in Johnson or Wyandotte County. Team members from JCDHE and WYCO PHD will help set up heat sensors for each vehicle, and volunteers will drive designated routes to capture temperatures around Johnson and Wyandotte County.

Volunteers can receive a gift card valued at $30 per route (or per shift at the Heat Hubs) for their work on the campaign. Drivers will also be reimbursed for the mileage driven on their campaign route. 

Campaign Day is tentatively planned for August 12, though this may need to change if weather forecasts closer to the day of event aren’t suitable for data collection. If the date needs to be rescheduled due to uncooperative weather, volunteers will be notified as soon as possible with a new campaign date. Tentative backup dates may be August 11, 18, or 19. 

The JCHDE and WYCO PHD are leading the Heat Mapping project in partnership with:

  • Bridging the Gap
  • City of Mission, Kan.
  • City of Overland Park, Kan.
  • CleanAirNow
  • Groundwork Northeast Revitalization Group (Groundwork NRG)
  • Heart to Heart International
  • Johnson County Department of Technology & Innovation, Automated Information Mapping System group
  • Johnson County Museum
  • K-State Research and Extension, Johnson County
  • Mid America Regional Council (MARC)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • National Weather Service (NWS)
  • Unified Government of WyCo/KCK Department of Planning & Urban Design
  • Unified Government of WyCo/KCK Department of Public Works

To sign up to volunteer or learn more about the campaign, visit this website: www.jocogov.org/spotthehot or ughealth.info/heat



Media Contacts: 

Johnson County Media Contact:
Barbara Mitchell, Public Information Officer

Ashley Follett, Community Info Coordinator

Johnson County Department of Health and Environment Media Line: (913) 477-8436

Wyandotte County Media Contact:
Janell Friesen, Public Information Officer
(913) 573-6703