Press Releases | Heat Relief Network Seeks to Reduce Heat Deaths

News Releases

As blistering summer temperatures loom in the Valley, the Maricopa Association of Governments and dozens of partnering agencies are today launching the regional Heat Relief Network.
May 1, 2023

Network launches today, provides life-saving information on where to find shade and water and where you can donate water to help

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Kelly Taft, MAG, 602-452-5020

PHOENIX (May 1, 2023) – As blistering summer temperatures loom in the Valley, the Maricopa Association of Governments and dozens of partnering agencies are today launching the regional Heat Relief Network. The network includes an interactive map with more than 200 locations for where people can find shade, water, and indoor cooling centers, or where those wanting to help can drop off donations such as bottled water.  

“According to a recently-released report from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, last year 425 individuals perished due to heat-associated deaths in the Maricopa region,” said MAG Chair Kenn Weise, mayor of Avondale. “It is critical for everyone to know the nearest places to go to get water or to cool down. Not only for vulnerable populations such as people experiencing homelessness, but also anyone at risk from the heat, such as outdoor workers, out of town visitors, or older adults,” he said. “MAG is grateful for the assistance of its partners who help provide the emergency resources needed.” 

Below are some of the ways a few MAG partners are working to keep residents safe during the heat. 


City of Phoenix 

The city of Phoenix, which recently opened its Office of Heat Response and Mitigation, is a key participant of the network. 

“Strengthening our community resources is crucial to reduce the public health impacts of extreme heat, and Phoenix is proud to be a major contributor to the regional Heat Relief Network,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “We all have a role to play in spreading awareness of these resources and looking out for each other, and we will continue to develop urban cooling and heat response strategies,” she said.   

The city is enabling residents to sign up loved ones for wellness calls from the city’s Cool Callers volunteers. Volunteers call registered community members to ensure they are safe and their homes are cool. Sign up for free wellness calls

The city also reminds residents and visitors who plan to hike during the summer months to hike early, hydrate before, during and after their hike, hike with a buddy, and wear proper attire as well as sunscreen. Visit Take a Hike Do it Right to learn more. 

Media Contact: Keyera Williams, 602-859-5089, or visit the Phoenix newsroom contact page


Maricopa County 

According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, there are easy steps people can take to stay safe from the heat, such as wearing lightweight clothing, drinking lots of water, taking breaks in the shade, and working or exercising outdoors in the early morning hours as much as possible. Signs that a person needs to rapidly cool off and seek immediate medical care include a rapid pulse, throbbing headache, confusion, or red, dry, hot skin, and no longer sweating.   

“Sadly, we’ve seen an increase in deaths related to heat every year since 2015. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived here: your body needs you to take steps to stay cool and hydrated,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director at Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “Every one of these deaths is preventable,” she added. “Check on your neighbors, especially older adults who live alone, and never leave kids, older adults, or pets in a locked car.” 

Media Contact: Sonia Singh, 602-679-3098 


Salvation Army 

One of the network’s nonprofit partners is The Salvation Army, which gives out nearly 1,500 bottles of water per day during Excessive Heat Warnings and thousands more bottles of water throughout the year to people like first responders, people displaced by disaster, and tribal communities. The Salvation Army provides 11 heat relief stations throughout the Valley. During Excessive Heat Warnings, The Salvation Army also dispatches a mobile hydration unit from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to portions of metro Phoenix with high populations of people experiencing homelessness. 

“The Salvation Army considers the extreme heat of Arizona a natural disaster situation, so our heat relief efforts are part of our Emergency Disaster Services,” says Major Tim Smith, The Salvation Army Divisional Secretary for Metro Phoenix. “The Salvation Army is proud to be part of MAG’s Heat Relief Network and work alongside other organizations dedicated to preventing heat-related illnesses and deaths in our communities.” 

The Salvation Army is always looking for volunteers at its heat relief stations. For more information, you can contact your local Salvation Army location, call 602-267-4100. 

Media Contact: Scott Johnson, 480-415-4911 


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