AUSTIN (KXAN) — This June was the hottest on record in Austin’s history.
Austin-Travis County EMS continues to use what it calls “aggressive cooling” measures during heat-related emergency calls.
“In the past, we put ice packs around their neck and groin. Places that lose body heat quickly but can also change somebody’s temperature quickly,” said Captain Christa Stedman with ATCEMS.
Stedman said during a heatstroke, a person’s core body temperature can reach 104 or 105 degrees.
“That can result in brain damage or organ death, so it’s critical we get those folks cooled down as quickly as we can.”
Recently, ATCEMS has been taking a more aggressive approach to cool people down.
“We started doing ice baths,“ said Stedman. “So depending where we are, if there is an H-E-B around, we are going to roll into that H-E-B and get a couple of bags of ice. We have a couple of devices on the ambulance that we can use as a bag, and we will lay it out, put that person on it and literally dump ice water all over them.”
Stedman said it’s working so far with Austin’s record heat.
“It works tremendously well and works quickly and despite what many people might think about getting into an ice bath, it does not cause any distress or discomfort for the patient, and it’s saving their life.”