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Salvation Army battles excessive heat with metro Phoenix cooling stations

(KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross)

PHOENIX – With an excessive heat warning in effect in metro Phoenix through Thursday, the Salvation Army is doing its part to keep people cool.

The charity organization has 12 cooling stations across the Valley, from Apache Junction to Surprise, that provide relief from the brutal Arizona sun.

“Mainly they [the stations] have air conditioning where somebody can come and cool off and get out of the heat, especially the homeless who might be there, or it could be seniors who aren’t using their air conditioning during the day,” Salvation Army Maj. David Yardley told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday morning.

“We provide water. There’s sometimes hats, sunglasses and sunscreen for when they’re out.”

The stations are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. whenever there is an excessive heat warning in the Valley.

The Salvation Army also has mobile hydration units to provide water for as many people as possible.

There have been more than 1,500 heat-associated deaths in Maricopa County since 2001, according to the organization’s website.

The temperature in Phoenix is expected to reach 111 degrees Wednesday and 112 on Thursday.

Yardley, who compared the current heat to “being in front of a hair dryer,” said the people who use the stations are grateful for the protection.

“I think the most thing is they’re appreciative somebody’s out there and that there’s a place to go when the elements of heat are so bad,” he said.

Anybody interested in volunteering at a heat relief station can call Danielle Shankle at 602-267-4117.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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