What Happens to Emergency Crews In Intense Heat?
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — One call, and we’re off to Downtown Springfield, responding to a call for heat exhaustion, where we find a man lying in the street who had been out in the sun all day with no hydration. ”I was walking and he told me. My supervisor said he’d been there. He didn’t want to answer no questions,” a witness said.
Medics thought he was in bad enough shape that he needed to go to the hospital and ended up convincing him to do so. AMR Supervisor Patrick Leonardo says this is why vigilance is important. “The community to be a huge role, they do see somebody in distress, so it’s in their best interest to call 911 and we can intervene,” he said.
While riding along with AMR supervisors Jeff Soriano & Patrick Leonardo on this humid summer day, we find that the Monday after a long weekend is a peak time for calls, with crews dispatched all over the city.
In the last few days many responding to calls about heat related illnesses. “People can’t cool, they’re not properly hydrating themselves, it takes a very short time to become dehydrated, and if you’re elderly, or extremely young, you’re unable to regulate your hydration. It’ll affect you quicker and worse,” said AMR’s Western Mass General Manager David Pelletier.
In fact, paramedics get so busy looking after others; they forget to hydrate themselves, which is why Jeff and Patrick also have to look after their crews. “The ambulances have very good ac. When they come out, they work hard but there’s always water available. Once in a while we’ll have popsicles and things, but the crews are pretty smart. They know what’s going on,” Pelletier added.
Both Jeff & Patrick say this is only the beginning, as heat intensifies in late July & August. If you don’t want to end up in the back of an ambulance, if you’re going to be out make sure you’re drinking water and staying away from caffeine and alcohol.
Pelletier also says folks with illnesses like hypertension need to be extra careful in extreme heat as well.