‘Alcohol doesn’t count,’ Tri-Cities EMT wants residents to stay healthy during heat wave

RICHLAND, Wash. — During the hot summer months in the Tri-Cities, no two days are the same for Firefighter EMT Brian Bowe with Richland Fire and Emergency Services.

“Why I love my job,” he said.

Bowe said they prepare year-round for weather related emergencies like high temperatures, and it starts with prepping the ambulances.

“We put our IV solutions in the fridge sometimes and pack extra ice packs in the rig, cold water, cold drinks all that stuff,” Bowe said.

KAPP KVEW’s Madeleine Hagen asked Brian what he wished the public knew about staying healthy in the heat. He said it all boils down to using common sense, like refraining from exerting energy during the heat of the day.

“Make sure you do it at a different hour instead of three or four in the afternoon, when it’s 112 degrees outside,” he said.

With a jam-packed weekend of outdoor activities, he suggests you start hydrating right now.

“And alcohol doesn’t count — it’s not just simply putting water in your body it’s also getting those electrolytes, replacing those salts, potassium and calcium and all those things you sweat out,” the EMT said.

Be sure to watch the sugar and caffeine content on any sports drinks.

“It takes several hours to hydrate your body, and we don’t want them to start when they don’t feel good,” Bowe explained.

EXCESSIVE HEAT IN THE MID-COLUMBIA

It’s especially important to keep a close eye on young ones in the heat — they may not realize their body is telling them to slow down.

“Have them come indoors throughout the day, you know, make sure that they’re cooling off getting that body temperature down,” Bowe said children’s bodies heat up faster than adults.

The firefighter EMT also wants people to pay attention for signs of heat exhaustion.

“Nausea, vomiting is one of them, some muscle cramps, excessive sweating, excessive thirst,” Bowe said.

As well as heat stroke.

“Disoriented or confused where you have that change of mental status, unconsciousness, not sweating when you’re outside you should be sweating and you’re not sweating, hot red dry skin,” he continued.

Bowe said if you’re on the fence about calling 9-11 for EMS, they’re happy to help you.

“Feel free to call us, we are more than happy to come out and just talk with you check you out, it doesn’t cost anything, we want to make sure the public is safe.”