Emergency services prepared for cold weather calls - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Emergency services prepared for cold weather calls

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Car accidents remain a top concern and priority for HEMSI along with slips and falls on ice. Car accidents remain a top concern and priority for HEMSI along with slips and falls on ice.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Emergency responders have kept busy during this week's cold weather. HEMSI responded to dozens of weather-related calls over the last 24 hours.

Most of those calls, surprisingly, have been for people suffering severe flu-like symptoms. The cold weather only makes people more susceptible to catching the flu or a cold. Doctors said if you don't have to be outside, stay put inside; the less time spent outside in sub-freezing temperatures, the better.

Dr. Tim Howard said layers are just as important. The more layers you have at your disposal, the easier you can adjust your body temperature as you go in and outside. Dr. Howard also said staying hydrated is important for your body to function properly.

Don Webster with HEMSI said the number of calls for trips or falls related to ice have been minimal. Dr. Howard said that if you do suffer a fall, even if you don't think the injuries are severe, head to the hospital or doctor's office just in case. Small fractures or concussions can be hard to detect, but can cause serious damage in the long run.

Howard said young kids and the elderly are more susceptible to weather-related illnesses like hypothermia and pneumonia, but everyone should stay warm and take care of themselves.

"It's not so much that it can cause it, but it can be an additive factor. Just because you are out in the cold doesn't mean you are going to get sick. It just means that you have an added stress beyond what is normal," Dr. Howard said.

Car accidents remain a top concern and priority for HEMSI. When the weather is this cold, they are not just dealing with injuries at the scene but also the possibility of hypothermia. However, Webster said it seems Huntsville-area drivers are being very cautious.

"The citizens of Huntsville, Madison, Madison County have done an excellent job with driving. I think we have only had about six or seven motor-vehicle accidents. That's actually lower than we would have if it was a regular 70-degree temperature," he said.

HEMSI is taking steps of caution as well, loading their emergency vehicles with extra blankets and linens to help keep people warm at the scene of an accident.

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