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Heat waves are the most lethal type of weather phenomenon, overall. Between 1992 and 2001, deaths from excessive heat in the United States numbered 2,190, compared with 880 deaths from floods and 150 from hurricanes. The average annual number of fatalities directly attributed to heat in the United States is about 400. The 1995 Chicago heat wave, one of the worst in US history, led to approximately 600 heat-related deaths over a period of five days. Eric Klinenberg, has noted that in the United States, the loss of human life in hot spells in summer exceeds that caused by all other weather events combined, including lightning, rain, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

Despite the dangers, Scott Sheridan, professor of geography at Kent State University, found that less than half of people 65 and older abide by heat-emergency recommendations like drinking lots of water. In his study of heat-wave behavior, focusing particularly on seniors in Philadelphia, Phoenix, Toronto, and Dayton, Ohio, he found that people over 65 "don't consider themselves seniors." "Heat doesn't bother me much, but I worry about my neighbors," said one of his older respondents. According to the Agency for Health care Research and Quality, about 6,200 Americans are hospitalized each summer due to excessive heat, and those at highest risk are poor, uninsured or elderly.


References
  •  "Hot Weather Tips and the Chicago Heat Plan". About.com. Retrieved on 2006-07-27.
  •  a b Basu, Rupa; Jonathan M. Samet (2002). "Relation between Elevated Ambient Temperature and Mortality: A Review of the Epidemiologic Evidence". Epidemiologic Reviews (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) 24 (2): 190-202. doi:10.1093/epirev/mxf007. PMID 12762092. http://epirev.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/extract/24/2/190.
  •  Near-Fatal Heat Stroke during the 1995 Heat Wave in Chicago. Annals of Internal Medicine Vol. 129 Issue 3
  •  Klinenberg, Eric (2002). Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/443213in.html.
  •  Dead Heat: Why don't Americans sweat over heat-wave deaths? By Eric Klinenberg. Slate.com. Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2002
  •  Floods, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Wildfires, Earthquakes... Why We Don't Prepare By Amanda Ripley. Time. August 28, 2006.
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