Heat deaths in Maricopa County double in 2021 compared to same time last year

Deaths from the heat in Maricopa County have doubled this year compared to the same time in 2020, according to data from the county's public health department.

There have been 113 confirmed deaths that were either heat-related or were directly caused by dangerously hot summer temperatures in the state, officials reported.

During this same time last year, 55 deaths were reported.

The list of heat-related fatalities included people who were found indoors and outdoors. Of the 37 deaths that occurred indoors this year, at least 32 of them happened when the air conditioning was either broken or not in use. In two cases, there was no A/C unit present.

Officials said 68% of heat-related deaths happened to those 50 and older.

According to the county report, at least 164 other mortalities are under investigation. 

Summer temperatures in Phoenix and other cities in Maricopa County regularly soar into the triple digits. People suffer heat-associated illness when their bodies cannot properly cool off.

While most heat-related deaths occur in July and August, in Arizona they can be seen as early as April and as late as October. Last summer was among the hottest for the county on record.

In total, there were a record 323 heat deaths in the county in 2020.

Cooling and hydration stations are available across Maricopa County. The Salvation Army has offered multiple heat relief sites that open between 11 a.m. to 5p.m. on days where an Excessive Heat Warning is issued by the National Weather Service.

More info: https://www.maricopa.gov/1871/Extreme-Heat

Preventing heat exhaustion/heat stroke

The Arizona Department of Health Services stated the following precautions can be taken to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings
  • Limit outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day (mid-day)
  • Check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors at least twice a day
  • Drink water before, during, and after working or exercising outside

You can check the latest weather conditions by visiting the FOX 10 Phoenix weather page, or download the Free FOX 10 Weather app, which is available on Apple iOS and Android.

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