Excessive Heat Warning
The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for Central Arizona and surrounding areas. High temperatures will range from 110-120 degrees. The extreme temperatures Arizona faces in the summertime are difficult for some populations to escape. Those who are homeless, for instance, can have a difficult time finding refuge from the heat and staying hydrated throughout the day.
Excessive heat can be deadly
Excessive heat has already claimed two lives this year. Maricopa County attributed 130 deaths to heat in 2016.
No chance to cool off
When temperatures are unable to drop low enough at night, the homeless population is unable to adequately cool off and become at higher risk for illness and even death. In downtown Phoenix, the hottest nights may not drop below 90 degrees. That's why cooling and hydration stations are especially important.
Heat Illness and Dehydration
Many heat illnesses involve dehydration of the body, so it is important to drink as much water as you sweat. On a hot day, a person can produce as much as 3 gallons of sweat!
Types of heat illness
- Heat Cramps
- Heat Exhaustion
- Heat Stroke
Heat Relief Network
Coordinated by the Maricopa Association of Governments, the Heat Relief Network is a network of service providers, faith-based groups, municipalities, businesses and caring residents mobilizing to provide hydration and heat refuge for people in need. Hydration stations and heat refuges can be found all around the Valley. For a complete map of all hydration stations, heat refuges and donation locations, visit the Heat Relief Network map.
Relief Outside of Maricopa
Need heat relief outside of the Central Valley? Check out the Arizona Department of Health Services' informational brochure on heat and resources for the homeless.
“I thought I knew what hot was, but my first summer [in Arizona] was like nothing I could have imagined,” said Lena Roberts, who came to Arizona from Florida.
Currently homeless, she stays at Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) at night, and searches for jobs during the day, using assistance and resources at the Lodestar Day Resource Center in Phoenix, which offers her a place to cool off and rest her feet during the hottest time of the day.
Every year, nearly 2,000 people go to hospital emergency rooms to be treated for heat-related illnesses, and some, never recover. Over a decade, the heat has killed almost 1,300 people in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) Mortality and Morbidity from Exposure to Excessing Natural Heath in Arizona, 2005-2015 Report. The Maricopa County Department of Public Health reported 130 heat-related deaths in 2016, and a third of those were homeless.