PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die in the U.S. from heat than all other natural disasters combined.

"We've already confirmed 27 heat deaths, which is far more than the nine we confirmed at the same time last year," said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for Disease Control at Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

[WATCH: Maricopa County could set new record for heat-related deaths]

"I think this year really caught everyone off guard. We had our first heat related-death in April and last year it was later in May," added Dr. Sunenshine.

She believes as our summers get hotter, the number of heat deaths will increase. Last year, 182 heat deaths in Maricopa County were the highest on record.

"We do know we have more than we had at the same time last year and far more under investigation. And that tells us it probably going to exceed the 182 deaths that we saw last year," said Dr. Sunenshine.

The data shows 73% of death occur outdoors.

"Those tend to be men, about a third of who are homeless and there usually in their 50s," said Dr. Sunenshine.

27% occur indoors.

"Those are typically elderly individual more often women," said Dr. Sunenshine.

And it's not just extreme heat days that put people at risk.

"More deaths occur on days that don't have an extreme heat warning," said Dr. Sunenshine.

For more information, head to County's health website.

 


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