Easy Ways You Can Help Your Community During the Hot Arizona Summer


Have you heard of the Heat Relief Network? Learn more so you can share how we all can help save lives this summer.

The triple digit temps are back again, and we are in for another long, scorching summer in the Valley of the Sun.

For those of us lucky enough to have plenty of home, office, and vehicle air-conditioning – and easy access to swimming pools, lakes, and trips to cooler locales – the summer here isn’t all that bad.

But what about those who can’t afford to keep their residences cool, are unhoused, or don’t have the luxury to escape town when the excessive heat alerts keep coming, week after week?

Thankfully, the Heat Relief Network exists. It’s a regional partnership of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), municipalities, nonprofit organizations, the faith-based community, and businesses that provide hydration stations, refuge locations, and water donation sites throughout the Valley with the goal of preventing heat-related illnesses and deaths among vulnerable populations.

Did you know that every year since 2016, Maricopa County has set a new record in the number of confirmed heat-related deaths? To break this tragic streak, it will require everyone in our county to play a role, and at the center of this is the Heat Relief Network.

Here is how we all can help.

  1. Know your own family’s risk.
    • Anyone can experience heat illness or death, regardless of age, health, fitness level, or how long they’ve lived in Arizona.
    • Older adults are at higher risk, along with individuals who have underlying medical conditions, live in mobile homes, are experiencing homelessness or use illicit substances.
    • People are at risk throughout the entire heat season; deaths can and do occur on days with or without heat warnings.
  2. Protect yourself.
    • Stay well-hydrated, wear lightweight clothes, and avoid being outdoors during the hottest parts of the day.
    • If you are outdoors, take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors with air conditioning.
    • If you are indoors, use air conditioning, especially if it is over 90 degrees outside. Once temperatures are above 95 degrees F, fans cannot provide enough cooling to keep you safe.
    • If you or someone you know needs a place to cool off, dial 2-1-1 or visit MAG’s online map to find a Heat Relief Network partner near you. The 2-1-1 call centers are staffed with community health workers that speak English and Spanish to help residents find cooling and respite centers, water, and other heat relief support like utility assistance and A/C repair and replacement from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
  3. Protect and help others.
    • Check on neighbors and loved ones, especially those who are older or live alone, to make sure their air conditioning is working and turned on.
    • Never leave kids, pets, and others who may rely on you inside of a parked car.
    • Help the Heat Relief Network provide life-saving resources. If you can, volunteer or donate heat relief supplies like bottled water, reusable water bottles, sunscreen, and hats. This is a perfect community service activity for school-age kids and teens during the summer months.

Email [email protected] for more details on how to donate to participating locations.

For more information on heat illnesses, prevention tips, and data, visit Maricopa.gov/heat. And for the map of heat relief centers and to find out where to donate supplies, visit https://azmag.gov/heatrelief.


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