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IEMS reaches emergency status twice in a week amid high temperatures

Posted at 6:52 PM, Aug 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-23 19:31:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s been so hot this week that Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services has already reached emergency status twice, responding to more than 10 heat related calls.

IEMS received a call for help around 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

“This was a heat related call. She is homeless. She hasn’t had any food or water today, and she’s wearing boots and fleece pants. She’s been outside for half-an-hour and that’s all it takes,” IEMS Lt. Amber Michaels said.

Michaels says the caller was showing symptoms of overheating.

“She was dizzy, weak, lightheaded and had a migraine. Somebody did the right thing by calling 911 so she can get some fluids at the hospital,” Michaels said.

Near record temperatures and extreme humidity for Hoosiers have led to above average heat related calls for IEMS this week.

The agency responded to seven patients on Monday and three on Tuesday.

“Seven in a day can overwhelm our system. When we start to see that, it does heighten our awareness and makes us want to reach out to the public and get a message out to try and avoid it,” Michaels said.

Michaels says with these high temperatures, first responders often see the most vulnerable.

“Those who don’t have air conditioning, homeless patients, young kids who can’t control their own body temperatures and sometimes an occasional athlete that has overworked it,” Michaels said. “We get people out taking naps on the street then all of a sudden they get too hot, or the pavement is too hot.”

Michaels also advises parents and pet owners to not leave their children or pets in the car for any reason.

Symptoms of a heat related illness include the following:

  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness
  • Slurring words
  • Unconsciousness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Michaels says heat stroke symptoms mimic a regular stroke. She says if you find someone in that state, call 911, get them to a cooler place and get them something to drink.
“Try to stay inside and avoid it. Take care of yourself,” Michaels said.