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Phoenix authorities expand heat relief efforts

PHOENIX (NBC, KYMA/KECY) - Excessive heat warnings are becoming somewhat commonplace in the Valley during the summer months.

The Phoenix, Arizona area is expected to see several days 110 degrees or hotter, and city officials talk about expanding resources that are being offered.

Weather in the Phoenix area can be unrelenting.

"I'm used to it. It's Phoenix...that's what we live like...probably get 120-130 degrees," said one Phoenix resident.

The Medical Examiner's Office reports over 640 people died in Maricopa County due to heat last summer.

"We have identified this as a priority to make cool spaces available more often throughout the city to help some of our most vulnerable community members," said David Hondula, Director of Heat Response and Mitigation.

The City of Phoenix has added five more cooling centers and also expanded to overnight hours at two respite centers: Burton Barr Library will be open to the public 24/7, and hours to other cooling centers have also expanded.

A multi-million dollar investment coming from different sources.

"They've allocated a good portion of American Rescue Plan Act funding as part of the strategy and then we are really grateful to have support from the county...and the State Department of Housing as well," Hondula shared.

With a multi-prong staffing effort, the city hoping resources and community involvement can help keep people healthy.

"We have professional navigators who have expertise in working with some of our most vulnerable. We have dedicated security at each site, and continuing to partner with city staff in these sites as well," Hondula added.

"Make sure that you hydrate the day before. Bring snacks with you. Make sure you have the means to be able to get to where you want to go...again we talk about checking on elderly neighbors and making sure those are taken care of. We also want to remind people about the pets; don't forget about the pets in the backyard."

Brian Lee, Director of Emergency Management
Article Topic Follows: Arizona News

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