Our agency serves a vital role in protecting its residents and visitors against the summer heat. Arizona’s high temperatures increase the risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. In 2018, Arizona hospitals had nearly 3,000 emergency department visits for heat-related cases. Additionally, each year we see an average of 108 deaths caused by the heat in our state. This heat season, ADHS has collaborated with local organizations to help spread awareness about heat safety resources for residents and visitors in an effort to reduce the number of heat-related illness cases.

Our season kicked off with the 3rd Annual State Heat Planning Workshop in collaboration with Arizona State University (ASU) and National Weather Service (NWS) on April 8. This workshop brought together 108 representatives from academia, businesses, elected officials, emergency management, government, media, non-profit, tribes, public safety, and meteorology to discuss and improve collaboration for summer plans on cooling centers, pet safety, school safety, home weatherization assistance, A/C repair assistance, emergency services, and weather alerts.

The ADHS Office of Environmental Health shared the new interactive mapping tool, the Arizona Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Data Explorer, which illustrates communities experiencing high rates of heat stress illness, and the National Weather Service shared the Heat Risk Tool, which provides upcoming heat safety weather forecasts.

Our 2019 Arizona Heat Awareness Week campaign ran May 27-31, 2019. In collaboration with NWS and media outlets, ADHS disseminated messages on heat safety over the course of five days, using the acronym H.E.A.T. — Hydrate. Environment/Weather. Awareness. Take Action. These messages (using the hashtags #AZHeat and #AZwx) reminded family, friends, and visitors about ways to stay safe in the heat.

Heat-related illness is preventable. To help protect yourself, your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers you can take actions to prevent, recognize, and treat a heat-related illness. We realize that not one person, organization, or agency can tackle this hazard alone. We encourage you to sign up here to receive heat alerts via email or text message with public health messaging, so that you are better informed and prepared during extreme heat days.

If you, a friend, or a family member lack access to an air-conditioned space to cool off in during the hottest part of the day, cooling centers are open around the state this summer in Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, and Yuma counties. Cooling centers are air-conditioned facilities available to individuals who need an escape from the summer heat, and often provide free water to stay hydrated. For additional information and resources, please visit our heat safety website.