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What fire, medical emergency crews are seeing during heat wave

Rise in heat-related calls as temperatures soar

​INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Extreme heat has kept fire departments and emergency medical services busy. 

Lt. Aaron Jeanette is with Indianapolis Fire Department’s Station 11, located a few blocks east of I-70 along East Washington Street near downtown. He said he has noticed a lot more heat-related cases. He let News 8 ride along with him on Wednesday.

“When the temperature goes up we typically have a lot more runs,” he said.

Jeanette has been a paramedic for 25 years and a firefighter for 19 years. 

He says, on average, he gets three or four heat-related calls in a 24-hour workday, but that is an undercount because some emergencies may have other serious conditions and heat may not have been reported even if it’s part of the case.

While riding with Jeannette, he stopped to take care of a patient who was suspected of being under influence of drugs, and there were signs of a heat-related emergency.

On another case, dehydration was diagnosed. Emergency crews wheeled a patient out of a restaurant.

At other times, Jeannette said, he took people from their homes.

“We need to remove people from their heat environment because not everyone’s apartment has AC (air conditioning). Not everyone’s house has AC, so we need to move them to an ambulance to where we can get them cooled down,” Jeannette said.

For Jeanette and his team, they look out for these symptoms: excessive sweating, dry mouth, confusion, and if the body is hot to touch.

He also says the team looks out for the general public as well as each another. “When firefighters approach a general residence for a fire, those temperatures can be anywhere from 500 to 800 degrees as they approach or enter the building in order to put it out.”

Jeanette encourages everyone during the heat wave to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate; seek cooler environments; and pay attention to your body.