Arizona Agencies Preparing for the Heat

Dr. Cara M. Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, reported on her blog last week that officials have begun planning for a hot summer, after a June 2017 heat wave last year brought record high temperatures.

Dr. Cara M. Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, reported on her blog last week that officials have begun planning for a hot summer, after a June 2017 heat wave last year brought record high temperatures. From June 12-27, 2017, temperatures reached 119 degrees in Phoenix, 93 degrees in Flagstaff, 120 degrees in Yuma, and 116 degrees in Tucson, she noted, adding that "Extreme heat will be upon us again soon."

Eighty people participated in a March 2018 workshop in Scottsdale to discuss heat safety efforts. They came from non-profits, local government, public health, fire departments, universities, media, and emergency management to discuss solutions for preventing future cases of heat illness.

"One of the many solutions proposed was to work with improving advertising of cooling centers available near bus stops. These places are a great resource if you are unable to cool down at home during the hot summer days," she wrote. "A representative from a public transportation agency agreed that this improved advertising could be explored. Participants voiced a desire to maintain ongoing dialogue to further our efforts at reducing the number of heat illness hospitalizations and deaths. Plans are already underway for a future workshop to keep the positive momentum moving forward."

Christ's post said her department's latest preliminary heat surveillance data identified more than 2,639 heat illness emergency room visits and 219 deaths from heat in 2016.

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