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Tucson braces for another scorching July as Red Cross holds heat preparation training

Red Cross tries to reduce death toll by discussing the signs of heat stroke and how to treat someone suffering from a heat emergency
Posted at 7:11 PM, Jun 28, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Mike Sagara, Public Information Officer for the American Red Cross, has observed a troubling trend over the past two decades. 

“We’re seeing more and more heat and we’re seeing longer days of heat than we did 20 years ago,” he said. “And with the climate crisis happening, I don’t think it’s going to get any better.” 

Last July was Tucson's hottest month on record dating back to 1895, according to the National Weather Service. 

Last year, 43 people died from heat in Pima County alone, highlighting the critical need for awareness and preparation.

With July returning, city leaders and organizations are taking proactive steps to prepare the community for another potentially scorching summer.

The American Red Cross held a heat preparation training at the Morris K. Udall Center on Friday, June 28. It aimed to educate the public on recognizing the early signs of heat stroke, such as cramps and exhaustion, and how to treat those suffering from extreme heat.

“We’re trying to make sure that the public is aware of the steps to take if they have a heat emergency,” Sagara said.

The initiative comes in response to the alarming number of heat-related deaths in the region. 

“Last year there were over 600 just in Maricopa,” Sagara said. “And the Red Cross were trying to see what they could do to bring that number down or even eliminate it altogether.” 

The training was part of a larger extreme heat initiative run by the Red Cross. The organization is collaborating with a group of nursing students from the University of Arizona to provide similar training sessions across Pima County until September. 

These trainings are part of a larger effort to equip the community with the knowledge and tools needed to stay safe during the hot summer months.

In addition to the training sessions, the Red Cross is also looking for volunteers to assist in their efforts to protect against extreme heat. Information on the trainings and volunteering opportunities can be found on the Red Cross website.

As Tucson braces for another potentially record-breaking July, community leaders and organizations like the Red Cross are working diligently to ensure residents are prepared and informed. 

Joel Foster is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9 who previously worked as an English teacher in both Boston and the Tucson area. Joel has experience working with web, print and video in the tech, finance, nonprofit and the public sectors. In his off-time, you might catch Joel taking part in Tucson's local comedy scene. Share your story ideas with Joel at, or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram or X.