Ambulance service issues heat alert

Wednesday, July 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The primary ambulance provider for Oklahoma City and Tulsa issued its first heat alert of the year Tuesday. The Emergency Medical Service Authority responded to 10 heat-related calls in Tulsa on Tuesday, with paramedics taking four people to hospitals.

In Oklahoma City, EMSA responded to at least five heat-related calls. Temperatures climbed into the upper 90s in both cities, and even hotter conditions are in the forecast for the next several days. Extra precautions, including drinking plenty of water, wearing light-colored clothing and reducing outside activity and exercise during peak heat hours, are urged during the next few weeks.

"The high temperatures we have experienced during the last week have severely affected many Oklahomans," said Aaron Howell, EMSA's director of operations. "Our crews are responding to multiple heat-related incidents each day. We are especially concerned for the elderly, children and people compromised by existing medical conditions."

The first sign of heat troubles is heat exhaustion that causes excessive sweating. "You can sweat so profusely you get to the point you sweat it all out and there is nothing left for your body to do to cool down. When the body starts to shut down, it can become a heat stroke. If a heat stroke is left unattended, it can be fatal," said FrankGresh, communications director for EMSA in Oklahoma City.

EMSA urged people to check regularly on elderly friends and relatives, particularly those who live alone and do not use air conditioning. People who do not have air-conditioned homes may wish to spend afternoon hours in shopping areas, movie theaters, libraries or other air-conditioned public areas or may try to stay cool at home by taking cool showers and sitting in front of fans.