Phoenix weather image

Blazing hot days are common in Arizona and they can be deadly. On average, extreme heat causes more than a hundred deaths in the state each year.

To provide relief in the city of Phoenix, community organizations offer residents air-conditioned spaces to cool off. Some also provide water, and donated items such as sunscreen.

Hammett: “Some examples here are Salvation Army, churches … our libraries, our senior centers.”

Michael Hammett oversees the Heat Relief Network. He says the network has existed for years but many people do not know about it.

So a new city-wide campaign called “We’re Cool” informs residents about where to find the shelters. Volunteers play a key role.

Hammett: “They’re actually out there early in the morning, 6:00 am, handing out these maps. We hand them out to everyone because this is about spreading the word.”

The city hung posters at rail stations and on buses. Hammett says since the campaign began, cooling centers are receiving more visitors.

As climate change causes more extreme heat across the country, the “We’re Cool” campaign demonstrates that it’s not enough to just supply shelters. It’s also critical to let people know that help is there when they need it.

Reporting credit: Mark Knapp/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

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