Volunteer Training Video
THE Heat watch PROCESS
CAPA Heat Watch is a community heat-mapping project that brings together local volunteers, public and private organizations, universities, and non-profit organizations to co-produce high-resolution heat maps and generate creative and collaborative solutions for extreme heat.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Frequently Asked Questions
What will volunteers do?
Volunteers are needed to drive along predetermined routes in the Houston/Harris County area over three separate one-hour periods during a hot day, typically 6-7 a.m., 3-4 p.m., and 7-8 p.m. Volunteers will use a simple data-collection device attached to the vehicle. You can also volunteer as a navigator and help direct drivers’ turns along their route. Ideally, drivers will need to cover the same route for all three shifts.
Data are collected using a sensor mounted to the passenger side of a car (note: the sensor is held in place by the window; nothing is permanently affixed to the car). The sensor records the ambient temperature, humidity, and GPS every one second as volunteers transport the device through pre-planned routes, or “traverses”.
When is Campaign day?
The exact date of the campaign will depend on the weather forecast. Heat mapping is best done on a hot temperature (when the expected daily high temperature is within the top 10% of annual averages) and clear-skied day. Using historical weather patterns, and support from the National Weather Service, the target campaign date for the Houston/Harris County Team is sometime in early August.
While weather does change, the campaign date will be confirmed about one week prior, as forecasts become more reliable. Because we have to wait for the heat—and the fact that summer is such a busy time—we need to assemble an “on-call” roster of volunteers -- which means that we’ll want more people signing up than we need. We will confirm your participation about one week prior to the campaign, when we finalize the date.
Are there any requirements as a volunteer?
All volunteers will be required to sign a liability release waiver. Volunteers also need to participate in a virtual volunteer orientation before the date of the campaign. Drivers will need a valid driver’s license, access to a vehicle, and auto insurance.
In addition to the three hours of data collection, volunteers will first be asked to review a video, complete a knowledge-check, and participate in a short online training session and follow up discussion. Based on previous campaigns, volunteers spend an average of 4.5 hours over three weeks, though the majority of time (~3.5 hours) will occur on the selected campaign day.
Do I get to choose where I drive or help navigate?
More than likely, yes. Volunteers are asked to identify their preferred driving areas once confirmed as a participant. We will do our best to accommodate your preferences.
Is compensation available for community volunteers?
Participating volunteers will be provided with gas cards and other supplies (masks, sanitizers, and water) on the day of the campaign.