Updated 06/20/2012 10:48 PM
Scorching temps keep ambulance crews busy
Scorching temperatures are keeping ambulance crews busy. WAVES Ambulance noticed a significant increase in calls for heat-related and heat-exacerbated illnesses Wednesday. As our Katie Gibas reports, paramedics say the heat not only makes their job busier, it also makes them take extra precautions to keep themselves safe.
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ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- There's no question the heat can take a lot out of you. But it can also cause serious medical problems.
"Anything chronic, heart related, not to mention everybody's out, those who are working in the heat or just those who are out and about, the heat really can affect how you're doing if you're not careful and treating your body right," said Luke Gasowski, a WAVES Critical Care Flight Paramedic.
Paramedics say the heat and humidity can also make asthma and other respiratory diseases worse. Of course, there's also heat stroke and exhaustion. And that's why paramedics and ambulance crews were extra busy Wednesday.
"We've seen quite an increase in call volume and we've been pretty busy. Both ambulances are out on call as is. Both heat related and non-heat-related stuff, but we do see an increase a lot with the heat. It affects everybody," said Gasowski.
And paramedics are no exception. They're taking extra precautions to keep themselves safe on the job.
"We want to make sure we're able to help you as the public. If we're incapable of performing our job due to any type of heat-related, we're not going to be any benefit to the community and potentially take ourselves out of service. So we want to stay available for those that need us, so we're going to take good care of ourselves and our crews as best we can," said Gasowski.
And that includes staying hydrated, cool and taking rests often, which everyone should do in hot weather.
"The biggest thing is take care of yourself. Look out for any type of exhaustion, starting just from the mild heat cramps, localized cramps. That's a warning sign that your body is dehydrated, so hydrate and make sure you're not going towards the severe heat exhaustion, or especially heat stroke," said Gasowski.
Paramedics warn if you or someone you're with starts to feel dizzy, nauseous or becomes incoherent, call 911.