Maricopa County heat-associated deaths by the numbers

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Our stretch of intense heat is just beginning and it's more than an uncomfortable nuisance, it's downright dangerous. We'll be under heat warnings for several days and these warnings shouldn't be taken lightly. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Our stretch of intense heat is just beginning and it's more than an uncomfortable nuisance, it's downright dangerous. We'll be under heat warnings for several days and these warnings shouldn't be taken lightly. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Our stretch of intense heat is just beginning and it's more than an uncomfortable nuisance, it's downright dangerous. We'll be under heat warnings for several days and these warnings shouldn't be taken lightly.

Already this year, four people in Maricopa County have lost their lives because of the heat.

There was a total of 130 deaths in 2016, where the temperature either directly caused or contributed to the person's death. It was the highest recorded annual number since the county started keeping track.

A report on heat-associated deaths out of Maricopa County breaks down these deaths to show who is most at risk.

The report stated, "Mortality from environmental heat is a significant public health problem in Maricopa County, especially because it is largely preventable."

Nearly three-quarters of those who died in 2016 were male. Most of them were between 50 and 64 years old.

For affected females, they were typically a bit older, 75 years and up.

Most succumbed to the heat while outdoors, but far too many are found in their own overheated homes.

Of the 130 fatalities, 41 people died because their air conditioners were broken or simply turned off.

Maybe the most vulnerable population is the homeless, who made up for a third of the heat-related deaths last year.

Now we're looking at a return of those deadly temperatures.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Extreme heat]

The Salvation Army says it's monitoring sensitive populations closely over the next few days, and asks you to do the same.

“It is dangerous and sometimes we forget about how vulnerable those populations are we work with. And so one of the things we're asking people is if you could just look right around your neighborhood two or three houses or two or three apartments away from where you live and just check in on people and make sure they're OK," said Maj. Nancy Dihle with the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army has 14 hydration stations scattered around the Valley. They’ll be open again Sunday and for the rest of the week for anyone needing to cool down or grab some water.

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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