More adults than children die in the desert heat

Deaths of children left inside vehicles when temperatures climb grip the public’s attention, but in fact more adults than children die from Las Vegas Valley’s heat.

And when it comes to dying from heat, about as many nonresidents have died compared to residents in the past decade.

From 2005 to Aug. 31, the primary cause of death for 124 people who died in Clark County was environmental heat stress, environmental exposure or hyperthermia, according to Clark County coroner’s office data. Sixty-six were residents of Clark and Nye counties, and the rest did not have addresses except two from nearby states and one from overseas.

Nine percent who died of heat were residents of Clark or Nye counties and under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Thirteen percent who died of heat, mostly without an address, were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to data.

“Not a lot of kids die from heat,” Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said. “There are one or two (child deaths), and we hear about it and we think they’re common, but they are not.”

As of Aug. 31, 15 deaths — two Clark County residents and 13 people with no addresses — have been attributed to heat this year in Clark County’s desert environs.

Of those, only one was a child.

Four-year-old Las Vegan Seth Franz died after he was left in a car for at least two hours in August, according to Las Vegas police.

Seth’s grandfather was running errands and forgot the boy was in the car, police said.

In the past decade, there have only been three child deaths, including Seth’s, where the primary cause was heat. One of those three deaths was ruled a homicide.

Jozia Diaz-Beltran, a 1-year-old, died of heat in 2005. The child also was forgotten inside a hot car by a family member.

Jason Rimer, a 4-year-old disabled boy, in 2008 was left in a hot vehicle by his parents. Stanley and Colleen Rimer were convicted in their son’s death in 2011. The Nevada Supreme Court in June upheld the convictions against Jason’s father, who was sentenced to eight to 30 years in prison. The mother was sentenced to five to 20 years in prison in 2011.

From Jan. 1 through Aug. 31, local fire departments received 193 calls about children locked or left unattended in cars throughout Clark County, according to fire alarm call logs.

“Most, if not nearly all, are accidental lock-ins. It’s rare that a person intentionally leaves (his or her) child in the car to get something or go shopping, because here you can go to jail, and it has served as a great deterrent over the past 11 years,” Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman Tim Szymanski said.

A Contributing Cause

Heat is a contributing factor in many deaths, including those of children.

In 2005, it was listed as a contributing factor in the suicide of a 17-year-old. Heat also was a factor in the 2009 death of a 4-month-old, who had a bad heart.

But the majority of heat deaths in Clark County in the past decade were adults.

Dr. Joseph Iser, the county’s chief health officer, said children and the elderly are more at risk of heat-related illness or death.

The human thermoregulatory system, which gives people the ability to regulate their internal temperature, deteriorates with age. People with chronic diseases and those on certain medications might be more susceptible to the sun as well.

But so are tourists who are not used to the desert heat and don’t come prepared for it, Iser said.

The Southern Nevada Health District doesn’t have official campaigns targeting certain populations to prevent heat deaths, but it does offer preventive information to the public on its website.

It also posts information about cooling stations during streaks of excessive heat and notifies the media.

However, Iser said more can be done.

“I think any death is too much,” he said. “I think that as a county, as a state, we should probably do more to warn our visitors in particular about some of the hazards that we have here, and that’s not normally cold, but heat.”

But the health district can only do so much with the resources it has, he added, and it’s also up to people to take the warnings seriously.

“People have to understand their own risk,” he said.

The health district encourages people to stay hydrated, and to drink water even if they aren’t thirsty.

“Here we don’t usually sweat, so you don’t feel the dampness, which is a warning sign that you might be losing water,” he said. “You really need to remain vigilant year-round.”

Heat Warnings

But some might just not be able to help themselves. Of the 65 Clark County resident deaths over the past decade, four had an unknown ZIP code, which means they might have been homeless, Fudenberg said.

The death locations for those 65 Southern Nevadans spanned residences, streets, work sites, parking lots, desert areas, alleys and hospitals, according to the coroner’s data.

Justin Pullin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Las Vegas, said whenever his agency issues excessive heat warnings, it typically causes something of a “domino effect” in terms of awareness.

That “definitely” helps prevent heat-related deaths, he said.

It prompts Clark County Emergency Management to send out information, which leads to the opening of cooling stations throughout the county.

“We typically … provide forecast briefings through email describing the severity of the heat and the duration,” Pullin said.

Clark County Social Services Department staff then reach out to various locations for the cooling stations, whose openings are triggered by excessive heat warnings, county spokesman Dan Kulin said.

The county began to organize cooling stations in 2009, he said. The county also contracts with Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, the Salvation Army of Southern Nevada and the Shade Tree for summer day shelters, efforts that started in 2006.

There are typically 10 to 11 cooling stations throughout the valley and two in Laughlin.

“We have the day shelters and cooling stations to give the medically fragile, and anyone else who may need them on those days when it’s extremely hot outside,” he said. “Certainly, we hope that prevents people from becoming ill or worse.”

Contact Yesenia Amaro at yamaro@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3843. Find her on Twitter: @YeseniaAmaro

ad-high_impact_4
News
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like