Soaring desert temperatures can turn deadly, you can help save lives

Posted at 12:17 PM, May 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-25 15:17:15-04

Two heat-related deaths have already been reported in Maricopa County this year, and it's not even June.

As the temperatures continue to soar, the danger will only increase.

According to statistics from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, there were 130 heat-related deaths in the Valley in 2016.

Most of those people had lived in Arizona for 20 years or more.

76 percent were over the age of 50.

And contrary to what some think, its not just the homeless who are affected.  67 percent of all heat-associated deaths in 2016 were non-homeless people. 40 percent of all heat-related deaths happened inside private residences.

Broken air conditioners are often to blame.

Groups like the Salvation Army hope to save lives.

They set up cooling stations around the Valley on days where extreme heat warnings are issued. These locations offer people a place to cool down and get water.

Other organizations and many cities offer similar services every single day.

It's all part of the Maricopa County Heat Relief Regional Network.

You can see an interactive map of all heat-relief and hydration locations here.

But while these agencies are there to help save lives, you can too.

The Salvation Army says many heat-related deaths could be avoided if neighbors just checked up on neighbors. The elderly man or woman next door may be living with an A/C that does not work well. A door knock from a caring neighbor could help that person find one of these cooling stations.

You can also help by donating water.

ABC15 will be holding a water drive later this summer. But you can always donate to a hydration station in your neighborhood. Collections sites can be found on the same Heat Relief Network map where you can find heat relief and hydration stations.