OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With nearly one of the hottest weeks on record in Oklahoma City, EMSA is experiencing a rise in heat-related health emergencies.
This week alone, EMSA responded to 35 heat-related health emergencies with 21 transports to the hospital. EMSA is calling the number of calls concerning.
“This has been a very busy week for heat related calls. I get the alerts on my phone, and I see the numbers just ticking up. I think that, you know, it’s concerning,” said said Adam Paluka, Chief Public Affairs Officer for EMSA System. “And it’s not just concerning, the number of calls we’ve gone on, but how many of those calls have resulted in the patient being transported to the hospital.”
The majority of the calls this week have been related to heat exhaustion and heat stokes, which can be deadly.
“At that point, your body is starting to shut down and you need immediate medical attention. The biggest telltale warning sign for heat stroke is when your body stops sweating but you’re still outside and it’s still hot,” said Paluka.
Paluka says the best thing you can do is take breaks every so often, wear light colors and loose clothing. Also, staying hydrated and pre-hydrating 48 hours before spending long periods of time outside.
Shade is also better than direct sunlight which is what this Oklahoma resident decided to do while at scissortail park.
“I am of course sitting in the shade. There is a sprinkler coming down on us, so, that’s how I’m staying out of this sun,” said Kaitlyn Hoel, Oklahoma City resident.
Mary Coyne walks every day on her lunch break from work, and she makes sure to get shade as much as possible, also.
“Lots of water, lots of water and trying to seek shade whenever possible. A love the park, I love especially the misting that we have going on,” said Mary Coyne, Oklahoma City resident.
This food truck owner makes sure everyone is safe around his business.
“We keep a lot of extra waters in here to make sure all of the Rangers have water and things when they come by… and we see a lot of homeless people come by and stuff, and we’re able to give them water and feed them,” said Tom Hopkins, Oklahoma City resident.
The majority of EMSA calls this week have been happening between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., with most coming from people’s homes.
“Maybe they’re exercising outside, doing yard work, doing some sort of project that’s physically tiring. And I think that, you know, we’re always concerned about the heat. But, you know, today when there’s forecasted triple-digit temperatures, that takes it up even another level,” said Paluka.
Paluka also says there are some concerns about cooling costs this summer, but it’s imperative to make sure the young kids and elderly people in your life are prepared for the heat.
Also, EMSA suggests to cut out caffeine and alcohol because those two stimulants are going to accelerate heat related illness, and they’re not going to keep you as hydrated as water or electrolyte replacement drinks.