Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego Helps Kick Off Heat Awareness Week

Photo from Mayor Kate Gallego’s social media.

At an event at the Burton Barr Central Public Library in Phoenix, Mayor Kate Gallego, along with the city’s Director of Office of Heat Response and Mitigation, David Hondula, and Councilman Carlos Galindo-Elvira, delivered remarks in the kick-off to Heat Awareness Week.

In her recent State of the City address, the Mayor had cited the need to launch and continue additional preventative city council-approved steps to stem the rising numbers of heat-related deaths caused by increasingly rising extreme summer temperatures.

In comments at the event, the Mayor commented that despite the lovely weather at the event, “triple-digit” temperatures “came early this year” and that the National Weather Service predicted “an unusually hot and dry summer.”

Saying the rising hot temperatures are becoming “increasingly severe, especially for our neighbors who are unsheltered, those who work outdoors, or those with health conditions, ” Gallego called for people to be “more vigilant and spread awareness on how to keep yourself, your loved ones, and all of our community members safe during extreme temperatures.”

Noting that the number of heat-related deaths doubled from 2022 to 2023, the Mayor said these fatalities were “tragedies” that could have been prevented and that local and statewide officials need to treat the summer heat as the extreme emergency that it is like “other communities do for blizzards, hurricanes, and tornadoes.”

Reminding attendees that the City Council recently approved improvements to the local heat response plan, Ms. Gallego relayed that cooling centers “need to be open beyond 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.” and announced that three locations will be providing extended access across the city.

Two of the locations, based on what the Mayor said were “last years calls (geographically) for heat-related service, will be overnight centers. One of them will be at the Burton Barr Public Library. The other will be the Senior Center at Seventh Avenue and Buckeye.

The centers, open since last week, have already served, according to the Mayor, about 200 people.

The Mayor thanked the team at the city committed to this area, commenting “We truly have a cross-departmental team who cares about keeping our residents safe and who is working hard to reach residents where they are with creative services and more and more resources.”

Ms. Gallego also relayed that the city is endeavoring to expand public water stations with the goal of “reaching pedestrian corridors throughout the City of Phoenix.”

She also mentioned the emergence of a chilled water service and thanked Governor Hobbs for providing additional capacity resources.

Later on social media, the Mayor and her team posted:

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