Emergency workers hoping for no repeat of last winter

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 7, 2015) – On an average day, Indianapolis EMS crews get about 250 emergency runs in their service area.

On this day last year, they made 373 emergency runs.

That was when central Indiana was in the grips of brutally cold temperatures after getting about a foot of snow. Now, dangerous cold weather has arrived again. But so far, things seem to be going much better than a year ago.

Yesterday, Indianapolis EMS crews went on 279 emergency runs. More than average, but nowhere near last year.

For starters, the temperatures are not as cold as last year. Dangerous yes, but not -15 without wind chill. Secondly, Indianapolis doesn’t have a foot of snow on the ground. So, people aren’t going out in dangerous cold to shovel 10 inches of snow from their sidewalks.

Still, Indianapolis EMS Public Information Officer Carl Rochelle is urging all Hoosiers to stay indoors as much as possible.

“Ten minutes is where they begin to get on the early edge of frost bite,” Rochelle told FOX59. “And tissue damage, cellular death can occur at that point.”

Rochelle thinks the travel advisories and warnings being sent out by Mayor Greg Ballard and other public officials are also helping to keep people safe.

Of course, some people have no choice but to go outside.

The bicycle delivery riders for the downtown Jimmy John’s were keeping busy all day Wednesday. Cold weather means more people want to order lunch for delivery.

“Bundle up, man,” said Jimmy John’s delivery rider Chris Banta. “It’s winter time in Indiana. Buy some layers. Don’t go cheap on having clothing for the weather.”

Banta says it’s not easy to stay warm while riding his bike through his 4-hour shift. But the money is worth it.

“I think tomorrow’s going to be pretty rough,” Banta said. “And I’m going to cherish snuggling my cat as long as possible.”

Fellow Jimmy John’s rider, Karen Wade agrees.

“Many layers,” Wade said. “And natural fibers like wool. And technical fibers. Something that will keep in the heat.”

Around the corner, the valet crew at the Columbia Club were staying busy rushing outside to help people to and from their cars, then rushing back inside to get warm. He agrees that covering skin and multiple layers are the key.

“I have about four or five on right now,” Cochran said. “Because you never know how long we’re going to be out here.”

In addition to multiple layers and covering skin, Rochelle says most people don’t drink enough water to properly deal with the conditions.

“Be very well hydrated,” Rochelle said. “That makes a big difference when we’re talking about hypothermia and frost bite, and the ability to self regulate temperature for the body.”

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