PHOENIX - With an excessive heat warning in place in the coming days, it’s time to start thinking of heat relief.

Nearly 2,000 people visit emergency rooms in Arizona each year because of heat-related illnesses, According to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Heat-related illnesses can be fatal. AZDHS reports almost 1,300 deaths from exposure to excessive heat from 2005 to 2015.

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The Heat Relief Regional Network provides hydration, shelter and wellness checks throughout the metro area during the summer months.

Individuals, businesses, churches and other organizations offer help to people who are homeless, elderly or have a disability. The network forms each May and operates through September.

The Maricopa Association of Governments provides a map and a list of addresses of the heat refuges.

Staying hydrated is critical to avoiding heat-related illnesses, but that doesn’t come easy to some.

If you’d like to help, there are dozens of places in the Valley where you can drop off water. Some locations also accept cash, sunscreen, lip balm, hygiene products, clothing, food and portable fans.

Follow this link to find your nearest drop-off location.

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Here are a few other ways you can protect yourself and others during the excessive heat:

• Know the signs of heat distress. If you see someone you believe to be in danger, call 911 for assistance.

• Carry bottled water in your car for yourself, your passengers and for anyone you see who might be suffering from the heat

• Check on your neighbors. Make sure their air conditioners are running and they have enough water.

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• Learn how to spot signs of heat illness

• Never leave infants, children or pets inside a parked vehicle

• Increase fluid intake, regardless of activity level. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink fluids.

• Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar

• Wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15, and apply it at least 30 minutes before going outdoors

• Rest frequently in shady areas

• Dress in loose, cool clothing and shade your head and face with a hat or an umbrella