Heat relief in Phoenix: What's being done to curb heat-related deaths

With scorching temperatures throughout this week in Arizona, the city of Phoenix is making some changes this year to battle the blazing heat.

To prevent another year of high heat deaths, the city is making several changes, and one of them is adding more places where people can stay cool.

One of those places is the Community of Hope. Animals are welcome, too.

"I need it. It’s hot out here," Christopher Guerrero said.

He says it’s a relief to beat the heat.

"You can come over here, cool down here 24 hours a day, no matter if it’s day or night, and hang out," he said.

Burton Barr Library is the city’s first 24/7 cooling center. One of many new summer resources offered by the city of Phoenix.

Last summer, the Valley experienced both a record heat wave and a record number of heat-related deaths.

David Hundula, director of the office of heat response and mitigation for the city of Phoenix, says lessons were learned, and new plans were formed.

"This is work that started way back last summer to make this year's program as strong as it can be," he said.

Brian Lee, director of emergency management for the city of Phoenix, says the five new cooling center locations were selected by analyzing 2023 data like calls for service and heat maps.

"First and foremost, we realized that we needed to have longer hours of operation and we needed to be a little more strategic in how we actually place those locations," Lee said.

There’s more than air conditioning and water at these sites too. Professionals will be there to provide resources for vulnerable populations.

"The risks are a lot higher for those who use drugs, unfortunately. Especially when we counter that with triple digit degrees and weather," said Yanitza Soto, special projects administrator with the office of public health.

They're also working to keep those in Phoenix hydrated.

A new chilled public water station was installed at Cesar Chavez Plaza in downtown Phoenix.


"An equivalent of 1,000 plastic water bottles have been used. We see the demand," said Michael Hammett, chief innovation officer at the Phoenix city manager’s office.

Every initiative is aimed toward saving lives.

"We want to move the numbers in the other direction as quickly as possible," Hundula said.

If you are elderly or are in need of transportation to a cooling center, all you have to do is call 2-1-1 for help.

Click here for heat relief resources in Phoenix, and click here for resources around Arizona.