Tulsa EMSA sees record number heat-related calls

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa’s EMSA has seen a notable increase in calls in 2022 compared to this time in 2021.

“We’re about six weeks ahead of where we were the past couple of years,” said EMSA Chief Public Affairs Officer Adam Paluka.

EMSA’s third medical heat advisory of the year started on July 1. In that time they have responded to 96 heat-related calls.

Looking at the entire year, EMSA has responded to 238 heat-related calls. By this time in 2021, they had responded to 180 heat-related calls.

This means calls are up by more than 32% compared to last year, and Paluka said many of those patients needed to be hospitalized.

“I think that people are succumbing to the heat in record numbers for us being in the middle of July. We would expect to see these numbers in late August,” he said.

The danger of the heat is something all first responders keep a pulse on, including the Tulsa Police Department.

Tulsa Police Officer Andre Baul said officers make sure to check on people sitting outside or in cars that appear to be broken down.

“With these extreme temperatures, it makes us more aware, and it makes things more dire,” said Officer Baul.

He said patrol officers are on alert.

“We’re talking triple digits and we’re talking triple digits for an extended period of time. We try to keep an eye out for those in need,” he said.

Paluka said the most important tips to avoid heat stroke and heat exhaustion include:

  • Avoid Caffeine
  • Avoid Alcohol
  • Stay indoors when possible
  • Monitor your Body
  • Hydrate

It seems simple but it can help keep you, and first responders, safe.

“Our crews are working out in the heat too, it’s hard for them, so say a quick think you if you happen to see them. They’re working hard and working 12 hour shifts, trying to be there for the community,” he said.