Ambulance services swamped responding to heat-related calls

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MILWAUKEE -- Emergency crews have been swamped over the past week or so dealing with heat-related calls, as temperatures have climbed into the triple digits and an excessive heat warning was extended for the entirety of southeastern Wisconsin.

Daniel Robakowski and his crew at Curtis Emergency Medical Service were on standby on Milwaukee's north side Thursday evening -- knowing they could be dispatched at a moments notice.

The company had to call in extra staff to handle the high number of calls this week -- many regarding a lack of air conditioning amid the extreme heat, a combination that caused some to get sick.

Curtis reports a 50% increase in call volume this week.

"Anything from dehydration to asthma-related problems, diabetic issues. The heat has really taken a toll on a lot of people," Robakowski said.

Robakowski said record temperatures can definitely pose a health threat.

"If you're feeling the slightest bit sick, like you're gonna faint or are nauseous and dizzy, call 911. It's nothing for us to get there and respond and check you out," Robakowski said.

Robakowski said responders follow a special heat protocol in which patients are placed inside a cool ambulance, where paramedics can assess the seriousness of the situation.

At the same time, We Energies crews were out tackling scattered power outages Wednesday night and Thursday.

We Energies spokeswoman Cathy Schulze said Thursday the company is meeting the high demand because of past system upgrades.

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