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Phoenix launches annual keep cool campaign before heatwave

(Public Domain Photo)

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix launched its annual We’re Cool campaign Wednesday, days before the city was to be hit by a heatwave.

“Temperatures may reach as high as 119 this weekend,” Mayor Greg Stanton said. “That is potentially deadly.”

The campaign offers free bottles of water and indoor locations to cool off. Partners such as the Salvation Army, churches and outreach groups partner to get water and other items everyone, from those who are vulnerable to the heat to those who left their water bottle at home.

Scott Johnson with the Salvation Army said its hydration stations are open to all. The group is accepting donations of money to buy water, water, sunscreen and cooling towels, along with other supplies.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat watch for Friday. An excessive heat warning will be in effect from Saturday morning until Wednesday night.

Daytime temperatures could surpass 120 degrees next week.

Lisa Jones, the head of the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department, said part of a good defense against heat – besides water – is preparation.

“Wearing light-colored clothing, having a large-brimmed hat on, you’re wearing sunscreen and you’re drinking plenty of water,” she said of steps people should take.

“Know your limits,” Jones said. “Recognize when you’re getting warm and return to a cooler environment.”

Phoenix Fire Captain Reda Bigler said heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two big dangers when temperatures get very high. Heat stroke can kill.

“[With heat exhaustion] you start seeing excessive sweating,” she said. “The skin becomes very cool, pale and clammy.

“[With heat stroke] there is no sweating at all. That’s your body’s inability to compensate for the fact that you’re overheating.”

She said muscle cramping and nausea are also features of both heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Either way, she said, get affected people out of the heat and cool them off by putting ice packs in the armpits and groin.

Also, call 911 immediately.

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