Arizona city, state leaders announce legislation on disaster assistance for extreme heat
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Congressman Ruben Gallego have announced legislation to expand federal disaster assistance for extreme heat emergencies.
Friday’s announcement comes after 425 people died due to heat-related illnesses in Maricopa County last year alone. With the City of Phoenix being the first city to designate an office to heat relief and mitigation, Mayor Kate Gallego said now is the time to make this happen.
“We know that we can do even more if the federal government partners with us. That’s why I’ve been calling for several months for heat to be a federally declared disaster,” Mayor Gallego said, “We lose more Americans to heat than most other disasters combined and I’m grateful Congressman Gallego for introducing legislation to make that important change.”
It’s called the Extreme Heat Emergency Act, and this is a push to add extreme heat emergencies to FEMA’s list of declared disasters. According to Congressman Gallego, this will ensure communities statewide have the life saving resources they need to combat summer’s deadly hot temperatures.
“Mayors, like Mayor Gallego, can use this money to house people, to fix situations,” Congressman Gallego said, “if they have to set up cooling centers they would actually ask the federal government to pay for those cooling centers, that way it doesn’t come out of tax payer dollars.”
Congressman Gallego said the Extreme Heat Emergency Act has already been introduced in Washington, D.C., and the next steps are to garner support to push this bill to the finish line.
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