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Indianapolis EMS reacting to a spike in heat-related calls



Indianapolis, Indiana – The intense heat is causing an uptick in calls to Indianapolis’ EMS services. The weather is affecting more people, according to IU Health.

“Plan ahead, and if you start feeling thirsty, you’re too late. So, you really need to just find somewhere cool and rehydrate,” Andrew Wilson, a shift captain at IEMS, said.

IEMS reported on Monday that seven patients with heat-related diseases were treated, which is more than usual for August. They typically only answer one call per day.

“It concentrates during the heat of the day, so our crews could be on their run number 15 or 20 and then they end up doing a few more runs before they get to go home. You feel it,” Wilson said.

“In here, we have ice packs, which is a good way to cool people down. We’d also bring them inside of the truck, keep them out of the heat, and turn our AC on. Sometimes the AC in our truck doesn’t work the best, but that will get them to cool down,” Michellyn Henning, a paramedic, said.

According to paramedics, some people don’t drink enough water or spend a lot of time outside, and with near-triple-digit temperatures predicted, they anticipate receiving more calls.

“It’s the guys riding their bikes on the Monon Trail when it’s a hundred degrees. It gets to them. People that are just living their lives do normal things, but don’t adjust for the heat, don’t hydrate properly, (and) drink a lot of caffeine and energy drinks,” Wilson said.

According to IU Health, the excessive heat is causing more people to seek urgent treatment.

“We are seeing patients who either come in from long exposure to the sun or even heat exhaustion where they come in dehydrated and need assistance,” Melissa Cash, the vice president of Retail Health and Employer Solutions at IU Health, said.

Parents are being urged by health experts to keep a watchful eye on their children.

“We have children playing sports, and infants (outside). Just be mindful that they can’t communicate when they’re having these symptoms so make sure that we are watching their symptoms too and getting them the rest, the hydration, and access to air conditioning as often as (they) need it,” Cash said.

Despite the rise in calls connected to the heat, Indianapolis EMS claims it has enough staff to handle the demand.

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