Extreme heat emergency calls tend to grow with length of heat wave

WASHINGTON — Extreme heat has fire departments throughout the area ready to respond to heat-related emergencies, but the problems tend to grow over several days instead of cropping up as soon as the heat hits.

“Typically during these periods of high heat our call volumes may actually decrease due to the increased lack of activity out and about outside,” said Mark Brady, spokesman for Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department.

“As this heat wave goes on, over the next couple of days, the number of calls relating to heat-related illnesses will start to increase as people start to wear down from the amount of heat,” Brady said.

Brady says the best protection against the heat is to stay hydrated and those who must be outdoors should limit activity and take frequent breaks.

“Drink plenty of water, hydrate yourself constantly … and spend lots of time indoors in an air-conditioned environment,” Brady said.

Anyone overcome by heat exhaustion should be moved indoors immediately or at least into a shaded area where the temperature is cooler.

“You start to feel a little bit dizzy, you might get headaches, you might have some nausea,” Brady said.

The most serious heat-related illness is heatstroke.

“Heatstroke could be fatal. It’s when your body stops producing sweat. Your body continues to heat up,” Brady says. Treatment requires rapidly cooling the body with ice or wet towels and heatstroke victims require emergency medical care.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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