Posts Tagged ‘extreme heat’

Families are the First First-Responders

May 30th, 2013

Our country’s disaster preparedness system is really a matrix that starts with families and goes all the way to a coordinated federal response.  In between are local first-responders, county public health and emergency management, and state public health and emergency management.  But really- the real first first-responders are moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas and even kids.  That’s why family preparedness is so important.  The family is the first link in the preparedness chain.  

Last week’s tornadoes illustrate the need for personal and family preparedness.  Arizonans don’t typically encounter massive tornados, but we are vulnerable to many other kinds of disasters such as power outages, extreme heat, wildfires, pandemics, floods, and severe weather.   The best way to prepare for any kind of disaster is to be informed, make a plan, build a kit, and get involved.  You can get started with your family plan by using the resources at  Also, be sure to work with your family, friends, and the vulnerable people in your community to ensure that you have the information, plans, and supplies in place to survive, respond to and recover from the unexpected.  

Take a minute and talk with your family about personal and family preparedness.  You may even want to take the Pledge to Prepare by joining the National Preparedness Coalition.  As I mentioned before, it’s important to stay informed during a disaster, so be sure to visit the AZ Emergency Information Network for real-time emergency updates, and preparedness resources. 


Extreme Heat Water Drive

June 30th, 2011

This has been a super hot week- and we’ve even had a couple of extreme heat warnings in the southern deserts with more to come this holiday weekend (it might get to 120o Saturday).  Homeless folks have the highest risk for heat-related illness because they have limited access to cool spaces and finding water to drink can be a challenge.  A number of community organizations and behavioral health partners work overtime when there are extreme heat warnings- and one of the most important logistical challenges during their response is getting water to homeless folks so they can stay hydrated.

A few weeks ago we started our agency-wide bottled water drive to pitch in.  Our department-wide team has donated and hauled in literally tons of bottles of water during the June drive.  As of today – and there’s still one day to go-  we’ve collected more than 60,000 bottles of water (the Arizona State Hospital is still in the lead).  Volunteers from our warehouse will be loading all the water onto a flatbed truck on Friday morning and will deliver it to the community partners that will be distributing water to the homeless this summer.  They’ll be starting at the Hospital and will load the final pallets in front of the 150 N. 18 Ave. Building at around 10:30 a.m.  Thank you!

It’s not just the homeless that are risk for heat-related illnesses, everybody is.  Year in and year out, nearly 1,400 Arizonans get heat related illnesses so serious that they end up in an emergency department.  Hundreds are so ill that they end up being admitted to the hospital.  In 2008, the average per-person hospital treatment cost for heat related illnesses in Arizona was about $7,500, leading to a whopping $11M in treatment costs.  And that’s not all.  On average, between 30 and 80 Arizona residents die from heat related illnesses every summer.

The good news is that preventing heat-related illness is easy to do if you just use common sense.  You can learn how to protect yourself from heat with some resources on our website including our Heat Brochure, Heat Related Illness Tips for Schools and our newly revised Heat Emergency Response Plan.  The CDC has also created an Extreme Heat Media Toolkit for organizations to use in their outreach to prevent heat-related illness and death.