By: Melina Matthes
OMAHA (kptm) - We can't stop Mother Nature from bringing us this frigid weather, but we can make sure we're all safe and warm, especially senior citizens.
One local ambulance company said hypothermia could be a silent killer in elderly patients.
Those paramedics said they do everything possible to ensure their patients don't become vulnerable in these chilly conditions.
EMS providers said they want to make sure their patients are kept warm and comfortable. That's why they get them inside the ambulance within 30 seconds. "One of the crew members will stay inside for a moment with the patient, while the other person goes back outside and opens the doors really quick. We get the patient loaded up inside, get the doors closed one more time, covering them with blankets, keeping them warm, keeping them happy," Paramedic Ray Burbine said.
Another way they keep their patients happy is by making sure their ride is also comfortable. "We keep our heaters on in our facility so that when we leave it's at least room temperature and when we go we tend to keep it somewhere between 65 and 75 inside the ambulance."
"Keeping the back of the squad warm, we have two buttons up here in the front of the ambulance that I can hit and the air will turn on back there and heat up pretty quickly for them," EMT Justin Rodgers said.
And to make sure everything is going smoothly during transport, they also interact with the patient the whole time. "First thing is asking them how you feel? What's going on? Do you feel this? Do you feel that? I would say some of our older generation may not have the same sensation, same feelings in their arms, legs, fingertips, toes, they may or may not know if they're getting too cold or too hot," Burbine said.
And he said that's why it's so important to check on the elderly in wintry weather. Making it a practice to help family, friends, and neighbors who need special attention during the cold weather. "Check on them, make sure their warm, there's no drafts in the house, they're covering their feet, covering their head, wearing sweaters, etc. Just making sure they're normal like everybody else."
Letting your loved one's know you're there making sure they're safe and warm also let's them know, they're not alone.
Paramedics at Midwest Medical Transport also want to remind everyone to layer up on clothing when you're outside, especially your head and your extremities.
Since Saturday morning the six metro area Alegent Creighton health emergency departments have seen a total of 18 weather related cases. Six of which were for exposure.