Weekend Heat Warning Creates Early Need for Water Donations
For Immediate ReleaseContact: Kelly Taft, MAG, 602-452-5020
Brande Mead, MAG, 602-452-5060
PHOENIX (April 24, 2020)—The National Weather Service has issued a heat warning for this Sunday, April 26, creating an early need for water donations as well as refuge and hydration stations. As a result of the heat warning, The Salvation Army is preparing to open 12 emergency heat relief stations on Sunday. The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) coordinates the annual Heat Relief Network, which will officially launch May 1, 2020 with a more robust map of cooling centers, hydration stations and donation sites available at that time.
Anyone in need can visit one of the 12 Salvation Army heat relief stations on Sunday for indoor cooling and hydration, and each station also welcomes donations of cases of water throughout the summer.
Arizona's summer heat can be dangerous, particularly with public health concerns brought by COVID-19. There are additional concerns this year about providing assistance when many resources are unavailable or limited due to the Coronavirus pandemic. To protect the safety of donors and recipients, MAG is asking its network partners to abide by guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for cooling centers.
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 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. 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.
According to the National Weather Service, the Phoenix area averages 110 days of temperatures above 100 degrees. Even healthy people should take precautions.
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.
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