How California is taking a page out of Arizona’s book to tackle extreme heat

By Mark Brodie
Published: Wednesday, July 19, 2023 - 10:50am

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Braden Kay
City of Tempe
Braden Kay

The Arizona Department of Health Services reports 670 heat related emergency room visits across the state so far this year.

Last year, there were nearly 3,300, but the state and its cities have been working to build resiliency when it comes to heat, and to try to mitigate its impact.

Braden Kay was at the forefront of a lot of those efforts. He was Tempe’s sustainability and resilience director, and he’s now the extreme heat and community resilience program manager at the Office of Planning and Research in the state of California.

He says his new job entails getting funding out for both planning and implementation projects for cities and towns, counties and tribes, so they can invest in programs like public awareness and infrastructure like cool playgrounds and bigger urban forestry programs. 

His department also works with other state agencies to update California’s extreme heat action plan and the state’s heat warning system, among other projects. Kay spoke with The Show about what he's doing now on a statewide level and how it compares to what he used to do on a city-wide level in Tempe.

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