Assessing adaptation strategies for extreme heat: A public health evaluation of cooling centers in Maricopa County, Arizona

Vjollca Berisha, David Hondula, Matthew Roach, Jessica R. White, Benita McKinney, Darcie Bentz, Ahmed Mohamed, Joshua Uebelherr, Kate Goodin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Preventing heat-associated morbidity and mortality is a public health priority in Maricopa County, Arizona (United States). The objective of this project was to evaluate Maricopa County cooling centers and gain insight into their capacity to provide relief for the public during extreme heat events. During the summer of 2014, 53 cooling centers were evaluated to assess facility and visitor characteristics. Maricopa County staff collected data by directly observing daily operations and by surveying managers and visitors. The cooling centers in Maricopa County were often housed within community, senior, or religious centers, which offered various services for at least 1500 individuals daily. Many visitors were unemployed and/or homeless. Many learned about a cooling center by word of mouth or by having seen the cooling center's location. The cooling centers provide a valuable service and reach some of the region's most vulnerable populations. This project is among the first to systematically evaluate cooling centers from a public health perspective and provides helpful insight to community leaders who are implementing or improving their own network of cooling centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalWeather, Climate, and Society
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science

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