Environmental Deaths 171
Hypothermia deaths result from several circumstances. The most common circumstance surrounding exposure deaths is exposure while intoxicated. This is by far the largest group, particularly in New Mexico. The elderly have been found to wander away from home or a nursing home and die of hypothermia. Elderly individuals at home in poorly heated homes
and an increasing number of homeless individuals die of “exposure.” Another category includes individuals trapped by severe winter storms or other natural disasters such as flash floods. The final category of exposure deaths is outdoor sports enthusiasts-skiers, hikers, and participants in water sports who miscalculate their exposure and get caught by a change in weather.