Gov. Bill Haslam has asked the Department of Health to investigate why 11 people froze to death during last month’s winter storm.
Some were found dead in their homes after being without heat. At least two were elderly people who froze outside their homes after falling down.
Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner says the homeless are most at risk for hypothermia, but people in homes can also die if their heat is out. The situation can be worse if a person is on medication or abusing alcohol.
Dreyzehner said that “neighbors checking neighbors” is the best means of preventing hypothermia deaths.
Dreyzehner said most of those who died from hypothermia probably had people who were worried about them but couldn’t get out to check on them.