Heat wave brings another scorcher; EMS crews ready

By Gene Petriello - bio | email
Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Right now, the temperature is soaring outside. And while that is happening, crews at the Richmond Ambulance Authority are preparing for what could be a very busy weekend.

We caught Howard Hicks at the end of his daily workout, one workout he got in much earlier than usual.

"Got my towel, water in my vehicle and we actually cheated today. We cut across the track instead of walking the complete path," says Hicks.

Completely understandable, because when he was done around 9:30 a.m. this morning, the sun was already pounding down on him, along with dozens of others working out.

And while Howard is getting his workout in, crews over at the Richmond Ambulance Authority are getting prepared for yet another busy weekend.

"We are looking at our own schedules to make sure we have sufficient staff to cover. We are actually bringing in administrative units so we'll have the coverage," says COO Rob Lawrence with the Richmond Ambulance Authority.

Typically, as the temp climbs above 90, EMS crews respond to at least two to three heat stress illnesses per day.

Right now, the predication for this weekend is average call volume. But Lawrence admits, with the temperature soaring, crews could see an overall call increase of about 10 percent.

And in case all the ambulances are on other calls, the Richmond Fire department will help out.

This runner is taking all that pretty seriously. "Monitor myself and not over do it because I want to be here next week to work out!," says Joanna Minott.

All kidding aside, each year about 400 people die from heat related illnesses nationally. Closer to home: three people have already died this year in Virginia. That number is doubled up in Maryland.

Everyone agrees, there's a simple way to make sure that number doesn't increase. "As long as people pay attention and make smart decisions!," says Minott.

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