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MedStar activates emergency weather response for dangerous heat conditions in North Texas, expects busiest season yet

MedStar expects busiest season yet with dangerous heat conditions in North Texas
MedStar expects busiest season yet with dangerous heat conditions in North Texas 02:10

FORT WORTH — Monday marks the first heat advisory day of the summer season with the whole week also predicted to be in the triple-digits. 

MedStar expects this summer to be one of their busiest seasons yet for heat-related calls.

Since the heat index was above 105 Monday, MedStar supervisor John Hamilton says crews activated "their emergency weather response protocol" across Fort Worth and surrounding Tarrant County cities.  

"We upgrade our responses to lights and sirens response to get somebody out of the elements that may need our help and get them some more definitive treatment," Hamilton said.

Hamilton says he and his crews have spent the last few days stocking their ambulances with cold packs, water, and other supplies to respond to the influx of calls.

On Monday, CBS News Texas rode along with Hamilton and other emergency crews, who were already seeing that influx first-hand, with people calling MedStar for heat-related issues.

"I feel very dizzy. I don't feel good at all, and I feel very, very hungry, dehydrated," one patient explained. 

The patient said she and her husband have been out in the heat for days, and MedStar crews rushed to her location in East Fort Worth to get her cool and hydrated.

Hamilton explains the most vulnerable people to the heat are the elderly and homeless. Last year, MedStar responded to 980 heat-related calls: 744 of those calls were people transported the hospital, 55 of them critical calls, and 9 calls for kids trapped in hot cars.

Hamilton says he expects this summer to be even busier.

"It's kind of one of the things where you plan for the worst, hope for the best. But the earlier we get the 100-degree days, the longer it feels like we're going to have the extreme heat and the hardships," explained Hamilton. "We just have a higher number of calls every single year and never seems to quite slow down. So, I think it trends up every year from year to year."

Hamilton also admits his own crews can fall victim to the dangerous heat, especially when responding to crashes and being outside and the heat for hours.

"It might be an accident on the highway and those temperatures are significantly higher coming off of the asphalt. So, it's easy for them to succumb to the heat just like anybody else," says Hamilton.

MedStar says the biggest thing to stay safe this summer is to know the signs of heat-related illnesses. If you feel dizzy or incoherent call 911. Medics also advise people to hydrate often, because dehydration can sneak up on you days later.

RELATED | Resources to help beat the heat in North Texas

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