Beat the Heat! Homeland Security wants you to stay cool under the valley sun

It's the kind of heat that radiates from the roads, makes the Sun seem too close and Hawaii seem too far.

It's the kind of heat you can't take lightly, the kind that gets Homeland Security involved.

"The heat we're talking about is 115 to 120 degrees," said Kevin Kalkbrenner of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. "If we have 120 degrees, we haven't seen that in 20 years and the body has difficult cooling itself at 110."

Kalkbrenner is director of Homeland Security and Emergency management with the City of Phoenix and he says they're preparing and want you to as well.

"Sunscreen, of course," he said. "Hats that can shade you. People need to get out, hike early and get off by noon."

The obvious way to beat the heat is to stay indoors, but if you're renting and your air conditioning isn't working, the city has ways to help.

"We have cooling stations along with other cities in the valley where you can go and get cool and hydrated," Kalkbrenner said.

This is something that is not common in other parts of the country.

"No other municipality provides this type of service, and it's free," Jose Alarcon said.

Alarcon is one of the city's landlord/tenant counselors. He'll sit down with you, at no cost, if you're having a cooling problem with your landlord.

An ordinance passed last year requires all renters to live in conditions that are comfortable.

"If there's an A/C, it requires to be at least 82 degrees," he said. "And if it's an evaporative cooler, it requires it to be at least 86 degrees."

If it's not, Jose says to deliver a handwritten note to your landlord, keep a copy and see him if you need help.

For everyone else, drink a gallon of water or more a day, find a good movie and just try to stay out of the sun.

"We really need to make sure that people understand that this is significant heat, even above average for us desert rats," Kalkbrenner said.