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EMS workers seeing rise in calls about heat-related illnesses

It was a busy Wednesday afternoon for Georgetown-Scott County EMS.
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 5:35 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It was a busy Wednesday afternoon for Georgetown-Scott County EMS. In the last four days, paramedics here have answered 8-10 calls regarding a heat-related illness.

If these extreme temperatures remain steady, they expect these types of calls to rise.

“Certain medications make people more susceptible to heat related emergencies,” said Robert Ball, a paramedic with Georgetown Scott County EMS.

Ball was restocking his ambulance, making sure he has enough items to cool a person off, if it’s needed.

“The goal is to bring their temperature down without bringing it down too fast,” Ball said.

Corey Wood, the assistant director of the Georgetown-Scott County EMS, said most heat-related calls are from people working outside.

“Usually, yard work is the big one. People going out in their yard spending way too much time outside in the heat,” Wood said.

“In the last seven days we’ve had 12 patients treated by our ambulances for heat-related emergencies,” Lexington firefighter Holly Buchenroth said.

Buchenroth said their firefighters are prepared to fight the heat. They have ice water for the crew on standby, and cold, wet towels for patients who may need to fight heat exhaustion.

Firefighters are restocking emergency kits for the next heat-related run and it could happen at night.

“Yes, there have been several heat runs at night. My suspicion is that they were experiencing those symptoms during the day,” Buchenroth said.

If need be, the Lexington Fire Department has a trailer that can be used as a cooling center for their firefighters and paramedics. During times like this, it may be needed.

House fires inside can reach 1,600 degrees, not to mention the heavy, thick gear they have to wear.

Lexington firefighters say the heat has suspended some fire training exercises.

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