MedStar, which provides emergency ambulance service to the Fort Worth area, has begun prepping its cold weather response protocol for the moment the ‘real feel’ temperature goes below 25 degrees, according to a statement released Thursday.
By Thursday, MedStar had responded to more than six calls for patients suffering from cold exposure since Monday, the statement says.
The upgraded response priorities, to begin as an arctic air mass heads into North Texas over the weekend, will be for patients in an outdoor area, unprotected from the cold.
Residents should avoid exertion and try to check on on elderly or chronically ill loved ones often.
Here are a few more guidelines from MedStar:
- Wear cold weather-appropriate clothing such as gloves/mittens, hats, scarves and snow boots. Dress in several layers of loose-fitting clothing, and cover your face and mouth if possible.
- Be aware of the wind chill factor. Wind can cause body-heat loss. Stay dry, and if you get wet, remove wet clothing immediately.
- Limit your time outdoors. Do not ignore shivering. It's an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.
Signs of hypothermia include shivering; slow, shallow breathing; confusion and memory loss; drowsiness or exhaustion; slurred or mumbled speech; loss of coordination, fumbling hands, stumbling steps and a slow, weak pulse In severe hypothermia.