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City of Phoenix, nonprofit launch campaigns to prepare for summer heat

(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX — Approaching summer months with looming triple digit temperatures, Phoenix city leaders and nonprofits are preparing for what is to come.

The city of Phoenix is kicking off its We’re Cool campaign, offering free bottles of water and indoor locations through October with nearly 60 stations spread across the Valley.

“We lost 181 people in heat-related incidents last year. We have to do more to make sure people know about the resources that are out there that can save lives,” Mayor Kate Gallego told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.

Phoenix Fire, Phoenix Police, and Homeland Security and Emergency Management are all working together to remind Arizonans to protect themselves from the heat and look out for one another.

“We have 59 locations across Phoenix. Volunteers have been out already today handing out maps and will continue to do so,” Gallego said.

“Last year we had 90 people walking around Phoenix giving maps to the homeless and others who were in desperate need of these services.”

Phoenix Fire Capt. Rob McDade told KTAR News that he believes people do not respect the heat enough because it gets so hot so fast here.

“It’s only May 1 and we’ve already had a several heat-related calls — that’s including mountain rescues,” he said. 

His advice is to drink until you are not thirsty anymore and do not ration your water if you are outdoors.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson ensured the community the hot car law still stands, which protects anyone who breaks into a hot car to save a child or animal.

For every 10 minutes someone is left in a hot car, the temperature rises nearly 10 degrees, he said.

In addition to city resources, local nonprofits are also doing whatever they can to protect the vulnerable from the heat.

Phoenix Rescue Mission on Tuesday launched its seventh annual Code Red Summer Heat Relief campaign.

The nonprofit partners with businesses and municipalities, including the cities of Phoenix, Peoria and Glendale, to distribute water, toiletry kits and other heat-relief items to those living on the streets this summer.

“We try to find where the homeless are, where they are staying, and make sure they are hydrated and have food and also know they have a place to go to escape the heat,” Nicole Pena, the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s director of community relations, said.

“Our goal is always to let them know how hot it is going to be that day and tell them they are going to be in danger, then ask them what their plan is for the summer and how to live in the heat.”

Phoenix Rescue Mission is asking the public to support its efforts by donating items, volunteering time or providing monetary donations, which will be matched up to $150,000.

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