HEMSI warns of expected increase in heat-related illnesses through the 48 First Alert Weather Week

WAFF 48's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 9:15 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Emergency crews are preparing for the heat through the 48 First Alert weather week. HEMSI is expecting an increase in calls during the heat wave.

They are prepared to respond to a variety of heat-related illnesses, like heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps.

Experts with the CDC recommend calling emergency responders immediately if you see signs of a heat stroke like headaches, nausea and dizziness. Heat exhaustion isn’t as severe. Symptoms include clammy skin, heavy sweating and nausea and CDC experts only recommend calling 911 if you’re throwing up, your symptoms progressively worsen or they last for longer than one hour.

Lastly, heat cramps are cause for concern. They occur when you’re dehydrated or losing nutrients from excessive sweating. Experts recommend calling HEMSI if cramps last longer than an hour, you’re on a low-sodium diet or you have heart problems.

“Make sure that they stay hydrated, make sure that they’re drinking plenty of water,” says Don Webster with HEMSI. “You know sports drinks, like the Gatorade but a lot of water. Make sure they wear the proper clothing, that they’re in an environment where they’re taking frequent breaks, and getting in areas out of the direct sunlight.”

WAFF 48's Megan Plotka reporting

HEMSI is preparing for an increased volume of calls, but they haven’t added additional workers on shift yet but Webster says they are prepared to increase staffing if needed.

He knows fall sports are in full swing and HEMSI responders are prepared to help at football practices.

They are also keeping an eye out for people who live or work outside.

“Take care of your employees if you want to get your job done take care of your employees,” says Webster. “Make sure that they take frequent breaks. Watch them closely. Make sure that they can get plenty of liquids and plenty of water to drink. But just watch them close.”

Experts encourage residents to start drinking water before the day starts, rather than when you become thirsty.

Click Here to Subscribe on YouTube: Watch the latest WAFF 48 news, sports & weather videos on our YouTube channel!