Arizona Governor Hobbs and the Office of Resiliency Announces State’s First Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan

Source: Arizona Office of the Governor

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs and Director Maren Mahoney of the Governor’s Office of Resiliency (the State Energy Office) announced the state’s first Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan. This plan outlines how state agencies are preparing for another extreme heat event this year, and puts forth longer-term recommendations for improved cross-agency and jurisdictional preparedness and response.

Executive Order 2023-16 directed the Governor’s Office of Resiliency to lead the plan development. The office collaborated with several state agency partners, including the Department of Emergency Management and Military Affairs (DEMA), the Department of Economic Security (DES), the Department of Health Service (ADHS), the Department of Administration (ADOA), the Industrial Commission (IC), the Department of Housing (DOH), the Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO). Preparedness and Response recommendations focus on the following categories: safe, affordable housing; adapting and updating emergency response; improvements to the cooling center network; and data sets, knowledge, and workforce development.

Plan implementation is already in progress: Governor Katie Hobbs announced the hiring of the nation’s first state-level Chief Heat Officer, which was a key long-term recommendation in the Extreme heat Preparedness Plan. Dr. Eugene Livar will coordinate with the Office of Resiliency to implement the plan across agencies. Governor Hobbs also began advocating for equitable allocation of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds to Arizona, for low-income families to weatherize their homes and pay utility bills. Arizona has never received its share of formula funding, and the funding calculation also disproportionately favors cold-weather states. Additionally, Arizona's heat season is right around the corner, and the Hobbs Administration is getting ready to deploy 18 solar-powered, mobile cooling units to locations in need throughout the state.