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Arizona Department of Health establishes their first statewide chief heat officer

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The Arizona Department of Health (DHS) established a new role this year for the first time to be better prepared for the heat.

The new statewide chief heat officer role is designed to oversee Governor Hobbs's extreme heat preparedness plan.

With his new role, Arizona Chief Heat Officer Dr. Eugene Livar says he studies state heat trends and data to keep the community prepared for anything that may be coming.

"We look at the National Weather Service heat risk index and notifications that happen for different areas across our state," said Dr. Livar. "We also monitor heat related illnesses that happen within our state that are reported through syndromic methods. And then we look at EMS data related to heat related calls."

Livar says he also collaborates with local and federal agencies as well as state heat work groups. They focus on heat specific efforts with shelter, energy, health, and disaster response and how to fund opportunities for the state initiative.

Livar also says he also hopes to be a bridge connecting the community with local and federal partners in and out of heat season.

He says one way they connect with the community is through their check on your family, friends, and loved ones campaign. They also have a heat alerts system, so people can know the latest information during the heat season.

"I think one of the things we do know is that we’re not gonna solve all of the heat season problems and issues that are out there in 6-12 months," Livar expressed. "It’s going to be an ongoing year to year growing experience, and we’re hoping to be in a better state each heat season as we move forward."

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Danyelle Burke North

Danyelle Burke North joined the KYMA team in March 2024 as a reporter.

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