Heat Is Forcing Hundreds To Call Tulsa Fire Department Daily For Help
By Lacie Lowry, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The heat wave we're sweating through is taking its toll. EMSA had six heat related calls on Saturday between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Since 7 a.m. Sunday, EMSA paramedics have responded to four individuals with symptoms of heat-related illness. However, only one patient required transport to the hospital.
Saturday was the hottest day we've had this year. With triple digit heat expected all week, emergency responders are seeing a huge spike in calls.
Heat advisories, excessive heat warnings and even hotter days ahead make staying cool a priority.
"It's too hot, way too hot, 101, with 110 index, it's extremely hot," said Charlei Anderson, who is a mother.
So hot, emergency responders are giving a refresher course on heat-related illness and what the sun is capable of unleashing.
"It's like being inside a sauna," said Capt. Mike Ward, Tulsa Fire Department.
Capt. Ward says it doesn't take much time in the heat to start feeling serious effects.
"It can just put you down and make you sick, to all the way to death," said Capt. Ward.
The department usually averages 150 calls a day. The temperature has cranked that average up to almost 300 calls a day for help.
Air conditioners are working overtime, too. The city has come up with other options for you -- three cooling zones in Tulsa.
- The Salvation Army Center of Hope
102 N. Denver Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
- Tulsa County Social Services Cooling station
2401 Charles Page Blvd.
Tulsa OK 74127
8:30 am – 8:30 pm
- Dennis R. Neill Equality Center
621 East 4th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
3 pm to 9 pm Monday through Saturday
"At least try to get under a fan, it's not going to cool the air, but it helps with the evaporation, helps you cool down," said Capt. Ward.
Besides the elderly, athletes are most vulnerable in the heat because they push themselves harder, sweat more and often can't replenish fast enough.
Kids are also susceptible to the heat. At one Tulsa splash pad, parents were trying to keep their kids cool and entertained.
"This is my only option. Other than my own water hose, but that's a water bill," said Katana Carter, who is a mother.
When you're outside, high sugar drinks like Kool-Aid and natural diuretics, like tea and coffee, make you sweat more, suck the electrolytes out of you and tire you out much faster. So, drink water.
REMINDERS FROM EMSA:
- Light colored loose fitting clothing
- Take plenty of breaks when out in the heat if you must be out
- Consume plenty of non-alcoholic/non-caffeinated fluids (water, Gatorade)
- Stay in air-conditioned areas when possible (libraries, malls, movie theaters)
- Check on your elderly neighbors as you would in the cold weather months
- Do not leave children or pets in the car unattended even for a minute