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Heat-related calls have local paramedics working overtime

Stacey Gualandi

Heat-related calls have local paramedics working overtime

CREATED Jul. 3, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Tremendous heat and more than 30,000 people outdoors is a dangerous combination. 

That's why organizers of Thursday's 19th annual Patriotic Celebration in Summerlin are taking every precaution to prevent any heat-related problems. 

Senior vice president of Howard Hughes Corp., Tom Warden, said you and your family should wear hats, sunscreen, light clothing and most importantly, stay hydrated.

MedicWest paramedic Jose Fernandez said being heat smart is the best defense, "There will be a lot of fireworks, barbecuing, a lot of drinking where people will tend to forget about the elements and could definitely get dehydrated." 

12 hours a day, Fernandez and his partner Lester Hernandez respond to emergencies all across the Valley. When the heat goes up, they said so do the calls. 

With the triple digits temperatures, Fernandez said, "The call volume has gone up significantly. We've had more heat-related illnesses than say just a few months ago."

MedicWest allowed Action News to tag along to see firsthand. Within five minutes, there was a 911 call for a person in severe heat distress.

Paramedics said everybody is susceptible to these high temperatures: Young children, the homeless and most often the elderly. They said heat doesn't discriminate. 

This call involved an 87-year old woman in North Las Vegas who was showing signs of heat exhaustion. Fernandez said she had a temperature of 104. There was no AC in her home and she became slightly altered about an hour before. 

Removing her from that environment, and putting her in a cooler environment with ice packs under her arms, and saline, definitely helped her and turned her around. 

Fernandez said this is a typical type of call right now. What's not typical is transporting two patients to a hospital in one day. 

MedicWest said they will be the medical standby unit at Wednesday's North Las Vegas fireworks show. While they hope it will be an uneventful night for them, they said they'll be ready for all heat emergencies.