Newsroom | Preventing Heat Related Deaths

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Arizona’s summer heat can be dangerous, particularly with public health concerns brought by COVID-19.

Preventing Heat Related Deaths
MAG launches annual effort to provide relief during summer heat

Heat Relief

Arizona’s summer heat can be dangerous, particularly with public health concerns brought by COVID-19. As MAG launches its annual Heat Relief Network, there are additional concerns this year about providing assistance when many resources are unavailable or limited due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  

Last summer, 196 Arizonans died from heat-related illness.  While prolonged exposure to heat can affect anyone, MAG is especially concerned about vulnerable populations, especially in the midst of a health crisis.

“We may have more difficulty getting supplies and resources this summer,” said MAG Human Services Director Brande Mead. “Many community centers had to close due to impacts of the COVID-19 situation, and some provisions may be in short supply. We also don’t know how this will affect our ability to tap into our volunteer network.”

The Heat Relief Network is a regional partnership of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), municipalities, nonprofit organizations, the faith-based community, and businesses. According to the National Weather Service, the Phoenix area averages 110 days of temperatures above 100 degrees. Even healthy people should take precautions. Each year, MAG coordinates the mapping of the Heat Relief Network, including hydration stations, refuge locations, and water donation sites throughout the Valley. The goal of the network is to prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths, especially among vulnerable populations.  

Visit the MAG website to sign-up as a Heat Relief Network Partner or to view the Interactive Map of hydration stations, refuge locations, and donation collection sites at

Tips to Avoid Heat-Related Illness

  • Increase fluid intake regardless of activity level. Staying hydrated is extremely important.
  • Limit exercise or outdoor activity between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • When outdoors, wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 and reapply often. Wear a hat, lightweight clothing and sunglasses.
  • Rest frequently in shady or cool areas to give the body’s temperature a chance to recover and cool down.
  • Never leave adults, children or pets inside a parked vehicle.
  • Respectfully check on elderly neighbors to make sure their air conditioning is working and in use. Take advantage of free air-conditioning by visiting locations like shopping malls, the library or other heat refuge locations provided on the map.
  • For more information about how you can avoid a heat-related illness, go to the Arizona Department of Health Services website.

How You Can Help

  • Donations of snacks, sun protection aids like hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, lightweight clothing, and bottled water are needed. Visit the MAG Heat Relief Network Interactive Map to search for a donation collection site near you.
  • Educate your friends and neighbors about the dangers of extreme heat.
  • Have water bottles available in your car for emergencies.

Published April 16, 2020


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The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is a Council of Governments (COG) that serves as the regional planning agency for the metropolitan Phoenix area.

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