Tucson Announces Heat Awareness Week and Heat Protection Measures

Published on May 07, 2024

TUCSON, AZ – In anticipation of the upcoming heat season, the City of Tucson and Pima County have designated the second week of May as "Heat Season Week." This initiative is part of a broader strategy aimed at enhancing public awareness and response to extreme heat. 
Tucson is among the fastest-warming cities in the United States. Recent data highlights the urgent need to build heat resilience, with the summer of 2023 setting a record for the most days above 110°F. Projections indicate that by 2035, Pima County will experience 160 days per year with temperatures at or above 90°F. These conditions pose significant health risks, increase mortality rates, and disproportionately affect vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, the unhoused, outdoor workers, and those with preexisting health conditions. 

"As we move into the heat season, ensuring the safety of our residents is a top priority, especially those who are most vulnerable from the dangers of extreme heat," said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. "The City of Tucson is actively drafting a heat protection ordinance, a heat action roadmap, and upgrading infrastructure to prevent heat illnesses and provide heat relief for all residents and City workers. Our collective efforts today will increase our ability to mitigate and manage extreme heat, building resilience for the future.

The City of Tucson has a network of heat relief infrastructure, including pools and splashpads, and cooling centers throughout the city. In support of these resources, public transit is free to help residents reach cooling centers. Additionally, the City’s Housing First Program deploys a mobile shower unit at key locations.  
Long-term, resilience-building measures under Mayor Romero include the Tucson Million Trees initiative, the Community Forest Action Plan, the City’s Storm to Shade Program. Policies such as Complete Streets and Green Streets aim to increase green space, walkability, and micromobility options, enhancing heat resilience for future generations.  

Early this year, the City of Tucson and partners hosted the first Southern Arizona Heat Planning Summit, bringing together health professionals, emergency managers, utilities, labor unions, and community members. This summit provided valuable input for the City’s upcoming Heat Action Plan, which Mayor and Council expect to finalize before the summer.  The City of Tucson Mayor and Council are advancing protections for city employees and city contractors against extreme heat.
While City departments have long implemented heat protection provisions for city employees, the City is developing an Administrative Directive and Heat Protection Ordinance to ensure these practices are codified and consistent across departments.   In addition to local efforts, Tucson is advocating for federal recognition of extreme heat as a "major disaster" under the Stafford Act, which could unlock essential funds for state, tribal, and local governments to prepare for and respond to these critical conditions. 

The City of Tucson invites all community members to participate in Heat Awareness Week activities and to stay informed about the strategies being implemented to combat the effects of extreme heat. By working together, we can mitigate the impact of rising temperatures and ensure a safer, more resilient Tucson.  Follow the Mayor’s Instagram and Facebook this week for daily heat awareness tips and updates:   
  • May 7th: Understanding hydration and the impact of heat on your body 

  • May 8th: Learn about heat relief city resources, including cooling centers, pools, and splashpads  

  • May 9th: Safety tips for outdoor workers 

  • May 10th: Heat safety tips for hikers and visitors