DSM Fire Department sees uptick in heat-related calls

Local News

DES MOINES — With a massive heat wave across Iowa, emergency medical crews are responding to many heat related calls.

At the Des Moines Fire Department, EMS crews say they respond up to 10 to 15 more calls during these hot summer days.

“If you reach a core temperature, your body, let’s say 103 or 104, or higher, that’s when you’re going to start seeing some of those signs and symptoms of heat strokes,” says Lt. Tony Sposeto. When asked if that could happen today, he didn’t hesitate to say yes.

Some of those symptoms EMS officers are seeing include headaches, dizziness and flushed skin. Along with when your body stops sweating: that’s when you should seek help. “I either need to seek medical attention or get myself into another environment where I can cool down a little bit.”

“We keep all our medications in a temperature controlled unit here. usually, between 68 and 72 degrees is where we like to keep our medications,” says Senior Fire Medic David Deery.

“So, we got the elderly population that maybe doesn’t have air conditioning that might have been sitting in the hot temperatures a long time. They don’t realize that their body is becoming dehydrated and overheated.”

He went out on 4 heat related calls before 10 AM.

Lieutenant Sposeto says if you do find yourself in the back of one of these emergency trucks, they’ll turn the air conditioning up all the way. “The air conditioning in these ambulances has the ability to cool down pretty quickly in the back.”

If you choose to be out in the sun, stay away from alcohol and caffeine. “I think any type of fluid is beneficial. Gatorade does provide electrolytes. But, at the end of the day, straight water is just as good.”

“If you do get into a situation where you feeling dehydrated; so headache, dizziness, and nauseousness try not to gulp large amounts of fluid at a time. take small sips of that water.”

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