AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dozens of calls rolled into Austin 911 dispatch overnight as temperatures fell and the gusty winds caused weather-related emergencies.
“We did certainly expect to see an increase in hypothermia-type weather-related calls. And we also expected to see some carbon monoxide or toxic exposure type calls,” said Captain Darren Noak with Austin Travis County EMS.
Local medics are used to treating people exposed to extreme heat, but extremely cold, windy weather is something Central Texans are not used to.
“We’re going to figure out – especially with EMS – we’re going to figure out what the most appropriate disposition for you is. Don’t hesitate to call,” said Captain Noak.
ATCEMS is ready with a plan to respond to not only the extreme cold emergency of hypothermia but frostbite as well.
“Some of the more advanced items we have, heat packs that we can use utilize,” Noak said. “And in the most extreme cases, we do have the ability to put IV fluid warmers that would actually administer a warm IV fluid to start internal heating for our more severe hypothermic patients.”
If you are experiencing symptoms of frostbite, ATCEMS has some advice:
“Get into a warm environment, change out of those cold clothes, with exposures to your extremities, you can certainly run those under warm water,” not hot water said Captain Noak. “Put those extremities under your clothing and close to your skin to try to rewarm those, you can bundle up with blankets and just kind of rewarm yourself that way.”