Health, Safety & Well-Being

Health, safety and well-being includes addressing impacts of climate change, such as heat stress, air quality and allergens, food security, vector-borne disease and mental health. Climate change can disproportionately impact communities that are already at risk of harm, such as low-income families, communities of color, the elderly, children and homeless populations. For example, extreme heat can endanger people without shelter or without air conditioning.

Columbia’s CAAP has established two goals for improving the health, safety and well-being of Columbia residents:

        1. Prepare the community, public safety and health services for anticipated climate change impacts.
        2. Reduce emissions associated with the food system.

Community Well-Being and Preparation

Community Services

To prepare ourselves for the effects of climate change on our utilities, infrastructure, and the health and safety of our residents, Columbia has set a goal to support community services for anticipated climate-related health, safety & well-being needs. Children, older adults, outdoor workers and those with preexisting illnesses or weaker social ties are more vulnerable to climate change-related health impacts.


Community Well-Being and Preparation

Columbia's Vulnerabilities

Columbia’s climate action plan ranked the City’s vulnerabilities from the effects of climate change. Health vulnerabilities, such as heat stress, air quality, vector-borne diseases, and mental health, ranked at the top of the list.


A vertical chart indicating Columbia's vulnerabilities. Low vulnerability: Solid Waste, Energy, Drinking Water Quality Low-Medium: Transportation, Surface water quality, Drinking water supply,  Trees and Open Space. Medium: Agriculture, Stormwater Management Medium-high: Housing, Mental Health High: Heat stress, Air quality, Vector-borne diseases


Community Well-Being and Preparation

Combating Extreme Heat

The City of Columbia recognizes the health and safety of its residents as a top priority and has already taken steps to promote community well-being. To ensure residents are able to endure periods of extreme heat and cold, the City has designated nine public warming/cooling centers and participates in the Voluntary Action Center’s Air Conditioner Exchange program. In 2018, this program provided 69 replacement air conditioner window units.

Community Well-Being and Preparation

Emergency Preparedness

Boone County is vulnerable to natural hazards include flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes, severe winter storms, heat waves, droughts and sinkholes. Climate change brings greater risk of these weather-related emergencies. Columbia has partnered with regional emergency responders on preparedness planning to ensure the City and all residents can recover effectively and efficiently from disaster. Learn more about Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, and find the resources you need to be prepared.

Community Well-Being and Preparation

Strategies & Actions

To prepare for a changing climate, the City seeks to take action in a number of areas. Example actions related to community services include: 

  1. Monitor the prevalence of, and find ways to address, climate-related physical and mental illnesses by neighborhood.
  2. Enhance existing communication and education around emergency planning and climate resilience.
  3. Create and enforce anti-idling policies.
  4. Find sustainable funding sources for increased utility assistance with low-income housing weatherization projects. 

Locally Produced Food

GHG Emissions From Our Food System

The food industry emits GHGs through the production, processing, distribution and disposal of food. As the climate changes, food production, and therefore food sales, may also become more expensive. Columbia has set a goal to increase the production and consumption of locally produced food and support food security.


Locally Produced Food

Food Deserts

In Boone County, 31% of the population is low-income and lives over a mile from a grocery store. Without easily accessible grocery stores or the necessary resources, it can be a real challenge to maintain a healthy diet, thereby putting our community members at risk for disease and illness and making them more vulnerable.


What's Happening in Columbia?

To meet its locally produced food goals, Columbia is stepping up to advocate for local, healthy food production. The City is collaborating on a project to make an Agriculture Park.

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Locally Produced Food - Strategies & Actions

Priority Actions

The priority actions identified to address our food system include supporting local organizations and schools that promote local food and ensuring that enrollment assistance is provided for food assistance programs.


Health, Safety & Well-Being

Be Part of the Solution!

All Columbians need to be actively engaged in our resilient future.

We don’t always know when an extreme event will strike, and FEMA recommends that everyone be prepared to go without power for up to 72 hours. Put together your preparedness kit today!
Three markets in Columbia offer locally grown and produced food, flowers, plants and other agricultural products.