With temperatures expected to reach triple digits this weekend, North Texas first responders are prepared for a higher volume of calls.
George Church is a field operations supervisor with MedStar and described their management as “proactive,” especially when it comes to extreme weather.
“They let us know in advance what the weather might do, and they prepare accordingly,” Church said. “We certainly try to make sure that our schedule, our staffing is up as much as possible. We equip our vehicles with water and anything we might need to treat those emergencies effectively.”
Church said historically, their call volume increases as temperatures rise.
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“I think our call volume increases as well because anyone with underlying medical conditions can become a lot worse because of the heat,” he said.
Since May 1, MedStar crews have already treated 131 patients with a heat-related emergency. 83 patients have required hospitalization, with 18 transported in serious condition and three in critical condition.
Dr. Glenn Hardesty, an emergency physician with Texas Health, got a first-hand feel of the triple-digit temperatures on Friday.
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“I’m out in Camp Constantine with Boy Scouts in the triple digits. I can tell you exactly what it feels like," Dr. Hardesty said. “It’s not just hot. It’s dangerously hot for certain people.”
Aside from wearing looser and lighter clothing, Hardesty recommends drinking more water to stay cool. One of the biggest tips for people is to not overexert themselves, he said.
“Especially if you haven’t been out in the heat lately, if you’re new to the area…keep in mind, this is a particularly hot season,” he said.
MedStar has a special response procedure when the Heat Index (real feel) temperature climbs to 105 degrees or higher. For patients located outside in an unprotected area, they upgrade the priority of the response to limit the patient and responders from exposure to extreme heat.