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Indianapolis EMS responding to an influx of heat-related calls

Heat-related responses increase for EMS

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis EMS services are seeing an increase in calls due to the extreme heat. IU Health says it’s also seeing more people affected by the weather.

“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 said on Monday they responded to seven patients for heat-related illnesses, which is above their average for August. They normally respond to only 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.

Paramedics say some people won’t drink enough water or they spend long hours outdoors, and with near triple-digit temperatures in the forecast, they’re expecting a higher number of 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.

IU Health says more patients are coming to urgent care due to the extreme heat.

“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.

Health officials are asking parents to keep a close watch on their kids.

“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 increase in heat-related calls, Indianapolis EMS says it has the staffing to meet the need.