Emergency responders are preparing for a dangerous mix of freezing cold temperatures, the potential for slick roads, and lots of people out partying on New Year's Eve.
MedStar was stocking all of its ambulances Thursday with extra blankets, extra heat packs and extra IV solutions that they can heat up to warm the body from the inside.
MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky says they've already had six hypothermia calls since Christmas. It can happen in super cold temperatures after as little as 30 minutes, but it can also creep up over a period of days with lengthy exposure to cool temperatures like keeping your thermostat even as low as 60 degrees.
But right now, first responders' biggest concern is the effects of alcohol dulling party-goers' senses.
"It lowers your sensory ability to know that you're even cold," Zavadsky said. "It gives you that false sense of warmth in some regard. Certainly, as New Year's Eve parties begin to wrap up, we're going to be very concerned about people who are leaving, might not throw their coat on — 'It's only a few steps to the car, it's only a few steps to the house' — without realizing they're going to potentially have hypothermia and not be able to recognize it."
Hypothermia can make you so cold that you actually stop shivering. It also potentially causes confusion, nausea, vomiting and loss of consciousness.
The best advice is to limit any time you're spending outside in these temperatures.