Maricopa County Launches 2024 Heat Relief Efforts

Maricopa County Public Health investing in community support to prevent another record-breaking year of heat deaths

In response to the largest number of heat-related deaths since tracking began, Maricopa County Department of Public Health is ramping up its heat response efforts for 2024 to expand the Maricopa County Heat Relief Network.

The Network was initiated in 2005 by the Maricopa Association of Governments and is comprised of public, private and non-profit volunteer organizations that all come together with one goal: reduce the number of heat related deaths in Maricopa County.

This year MCDPH is coordinating cooling and respite centers throughout the County along with ensuring that Maricopa County residents know how to access these centers.

In response to this assessment, MCDPH has developed a robust plan to support the community:

  1. Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) with Phoenix, Glendale, Chandler, Mesa and Tempe. In partnership with these large cities, cooling and respite centers will be available to those needing to get out of the heat. At least one heat relief site in each city will be open until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and open on at least one weekend day. 
  2. Partnership with 2-1-1. MCDPH has contracted with AZ 2-1-1 to staff their call center with community health workers or promotoras that speak English and Spanish to help residents find cooling and respite centers, water and other heat relief support like utility assistance and A/C repair and replacement from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
  3. Partnership with large organizations providing cooling and respite centers. MCDPH will also be contracting with larger non-profits providing heat relief center support to ensure that cooling and respite centers are staying open until at least 7 p.m. and on weekends throughout the county whenever possible.

MCDPH has invested in its workforce to support climate and health. It has hired a Climate and Health Program Manager, as well as a Heat Relief Coordinator to focus specifically on supporting the county’s heat relief site infrastructure. This work is in addition to MCDPH’s robust surveillance to track heat-related deaths, which it has done since 2006.

Every year since 2016, Maricopa County has set a new record in the number of heat-related deaths confirmed. To break this tragic streak, it will require everyone to play a role, and at the center of this is the Heat Relief Network.

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