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Maricopa County Confirms First Heat Death of the Season

For Immediate Release

For more information, please contact Jeanene Fowler: 602-722-1806

Maricopa County Confirms First Heat Death of the Season

PHOENIX (June 19, 2014) – Maricopa County Department of Public Health has confirmed that a man in his mid-60’s is the county’s first death due to heat-related illness this year. The man, who also had underlying health conditions, was found in his home in early June without functioning air conditioning (AC).

“This is another sad reminder about how seriously we need to take our heat here in the desert,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Public Health. “Air conditioners are not a luxury, they are a necessity. It is important that we all remain vigilant during these warm summer months. If you notice a neighbor, friend or family member may not be using their AC, take action. Is it broken? Can they not pay the bill? There are support services to help."

Although it is unclear why this man’s AC was not functioning, many people struggle with paying the AC bills in the summer time. Utility companies are sensitive to this fact and have programs to assist individuals. In addition, government and community-based organizations also have support services and places people can go to get out of the heat. Energy assistance programs and locations for water and refuge stations can be found at heataz.com or by calling your utility company.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die in the U.S from heat than from all other natural disasters combined, and it is preventable!

People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and properly cool themselves. Common sense practices will keep you safe and healthy during the scorching days of summer including:

  • Staying hydrated

  • Not relying on fans as your primary source of cooling

  • Making sure you are coming indoors frequently to an air conditioned location to cool your core body temperature

  • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, and lightweight clothes

  • Providing for your pets

  • Never leaving your kids, pets, and others who may rely on you in the car

  • Checking on friends and neighbors

  • Staying informed and knowing how hot it is going to be and for how long; sign up for heat alerts at www.azhealth.gov

For heat resources, statistics and specifics on how heat affects vulnerable populations, please visit www.heataz.com.


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