PARMA, Ohio - More snow on the way means a greater chance of getting hypothermia, which is why the Parma Fire Department is encouraging people to use the warmer weather this weekend and get prepared!
"When it gets in the teens, especially with the wind-chill factor, and if they're stranded and their core temperature starts to drop, they start to became a little bit more lethargic and they don't, you just don't think as quickly and eventually you pass out," said Parma Fire Spokesperson, Doug Turner, describing the nasty bite of hypothermia.
The effects, he went on to say, can equal blisters and sometimes death. Turner described hypothermia to happen more often when you get stranded in the cold, in your car.
Even firefighters have to be prepared for it and Turner showed us how. One is a "Cold Water Rescue Suit" firefighters have in case they need to jump into freezing waters to pull someone out. Or there's the winter "Go Bag."
"Most of the guys will carry an extra bag in the winter time," said Turner. Each firefighter has one and the red bag turner pulled out from Parma's Station 5 truck had certain items inside Turner says everyone should carry.
Those items included:
- extra t-shirt
- extra gloves
Turner also recommended bringing a few snacks, a blanket, heat packs and water if you can. But if you think it's not cold enough for hypothermia, believe it or not Parma Firefighter Anthony Hyatt told NewsChannel 5 he had a hypothermia rescue Friday morning for an elderly man who went missing for about a 30 minutes in just a sweatshirt.
"Being a sunnier day and a little bit warmer than what it has been and what it's going to be in a couple days, it was kind of surprising to see how cold and feel how cold he was," said Hyatt.
Turner said, "You could still be hypothermic when the temperatures are in their forties, if you're out there without the proper gear on."
Another reason for the bulk of hypothermia emergency calls, explained Hyatt, are due to older adults running out in a t-shirt and shorts to get the mail. Hyatt said a significant amount of elderly people fall, break their hips and sometimes suffer from hypothermia waiting for help to arrive.
"Or they're running in house shoes and fall and slip on the ice as well … if you do fall and go down and you can't get up, the longer you sit there the worse you're going to get," said Hyatt.
9-1-1 calls for hypothermia are another one of the many emergencies firefighters have to respond to. With next week's temperatures expected to be in the "teens," Parma's firefighters say it's better to be prepared than sorry!