Albert Lopez
Planning Director

Cooling Our Communities:
Heat Preparedness & Tree Planting in the Unincorporated Eden Area

a bird's eye view of an Alameda County community

Heat and Health Resources

The average number of extreme heat days per year in Alameda County (hotter than 92.6℉) is expected to increase from 5 to as many as 15 by 2050. A 2017 study by the Public Health Department identified the Eden Area communities of Ashland, Cherryland, and Hayward Acres as areas with high vulnerability to the impact of increased heat.

The Cooling Our Communities Heat Preparedness Program built upon strong partnerships between the CDA Planning Department, GSA Sustainability Office, and the Public Health Department to assess vulnerability to extreme heat and connect Eden Area residents to cooling strategies and community capacity building efforts to help them stay cool as the climate warms.

promo video screeenshot - buildings, tree and face

Cooling Our Communities promotional video written and produced by youth from the REACH Ashland Youth Center Arts & Creativity Program

What are the ways extreme heat can impact health?

  • Heat-related illness: dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke
  • Increased cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses
  • Sunburn from overexposure to the sun
  • Increased allergy symptoms from increased pollen and allergens
  • Increased stress on the body, particularly if nighttime temperatures do not cool down

Who is at higher risk of the effects of extreme heat?

  • Older adults
  • Infants and children
  • People with disabilities
  • Unsheltered residents and those experiencing homelessness
  • Immigrants or people who speak limited English
  • Households with no air conditioning
  • People with chronic health conditions, particularly respiratory and cardiovascular disease

Cooling Strategies

Use the following cooling methods to reduce body temperatures during extreme heat events. Visit the cooling centers listed below for access to air conditioning.

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Stay Hydrated

Drink water throughout the day and evening. Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine. Avoid large meals. Instead, snack periodically throughout the day and eat smaller meals frequently.

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Stay Cool

Cooling down the whole body is important for reducing the effects of heat. This can be done by taking a cool bath or placing cold, damp towels over the body. For maximum cooling, place cold towels over the hands, face, and feet. At night, make sure to use light sheets and sleep as low to the ground as possible, allowing time for the body to recover from daytime heat.

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Stay Informed

Sign up for the AC Alert mass notification system, a free service that issues notifications about potential safety hazards by voice, text, and/or e-mail (you choose the notification method when you sign up.) All information you provide is kept strictly confidential and you can choose to stop at any time.

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Create a Cool Environment

Close curtains to reduce the amount of heat passing through the home. Keep electric lights down throughout the day. When cooking, avoid using the oven and opt for the microwave instead.

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Use the Buddy System

Make sure family and friends are preparing for the next heat wave and create a buddy system to look after one another.

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Dress Smart

Wear light-colored, lightweight, and loose-fitting clothing. Open shoes with circulation also help to cool the body. During the hottest times of the day, avoid strenuous activity and stay inside or visit an accessible cooling center nearby.

Cooling Centers Serving the Eden Area

A cooling center is a facility, such as a senior center, community center, or library, where people may go to get out of life-threatening heat during a heat wave. Cooling centers are for everyone, especially those at risk of getting a heat-related illness. Visit these links for the most up-to-date information:

The following facilities may operate as cooling centers during extreme heat events. Please call the facility nearest you or refer to the Open Cooling Facilities website for details and hours of operation during hot weather:

  • San Lorenzo Library - 395 Paseo Grande, San Lorenzo, 510-284-0640
    Easily accessible from public transit and with plentiful parking, San Lorenzo Library actively encourages residents to come inside and use it as a comfortable community space. The Library also has free public wi-fi, outlets, and laptops that can be checked out for use.
  • Hayward Downtown Library - 888 C Street, Hayward, 510-293-8685
    The Hayward Downtown Library is a primarily indoor, family-friendly space for all ages. The facility also hosts regular programming and has a seed lending library program.
  • Castro Valley Library -3600 Norbridge Ave, Castro Valley, 510-667-7900
    The Castro Valley Library is a primarily indoor, family-friendly space for all ages, located within walking distance of Castro Valley BART.
  • Cherryland Community Center - 278 Hampton Rd, Cherryland, 510-626-8877
    The Cherryland Community Center is a primarily indoor facility with hydration stations, public bathrooms, and a kitchen. The Cherryland Community Center is operated by the Hayward Area Recreation and Parks District.
  • Ashland Community Center - 1530 167th Avenue, Ashland, 510-881-6700
    The Ashland Community Center is a primarily indoor facility with hydration stations and public bathrooms. The Ashland Community Center is operated by the Hayward Area Recreation and Parks District.
  • Cannery Park - 125 B Street, Hayward, 510-881-6700
    Cannery Park is an entirely outdoor splash pad, perfect for cooling down on hot days. The park is especially popular among families due to the presence of playground climbing structures & wet play area. Cannery Park is operated by the Hayward Area Recreation and Parks District.
  • REACH Ashland Youth Center - 16335 E 14th St, Ashland, (510) 481-4500
    The REACH Ashland Youth Center is an indoor-outdoor facility dedicated to healthy youth development. The facility is open only to registered youth to create a safe space for learning and creativity. Youth ages 11-24 who would like to participate in REACH's programming should call (510) 481-4551. REACH is operated by Alameda County.

Heat Preparedness Pocket Guides

Click below for free printable PDFs in 6 languages.

Available In English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, and Farsi.

Staff Contact

Alison Abbors, Planner III
Alameda County Planning Department
224 West Winton Avenue, Suite 111
Hayward, CA 94544
Phone: (510) 670-5400
Send an email