First responders take extra precaution in frigid cold

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- American Medical Response or AMR implemented new policies in October 2017 on how to wrap patients in inclement weather; already this winter the new training has come in handy.

Regional Director of AMR of Western New York Thomas Maxian told News 4 in addition to packing vehicles with extra warming blankets, paramedics will put IV fluid bags on the dashboard of emergency vehicles to keep them warm.

“When the body is cold, when the body is fighting to keep itself warm, it’s fighting to keep as much warm blood in the core as possible. When something like an injury happens, especially a laceration when there’s a large amount of blood, the body is then fighting two element; it’s fighting the bleeding, and it’s also fighting the cold,” said Maxian.

This week, AMR transported several patients from the massive Thruway accident in Lancaster.

Both AMR and Mercy EMS told News 4 during bitter cold months, shifts are staggered so that first responders don’t suffer fatigue in the field.

Chief EMS Officer Scott Karaszewski explained battling exposure on top of an pre-existing injury can impact a patient’s chances of recovery.

“You don’t want them to be exposed to the elements when they’re in our care, so you try to keep them as warm as possible, so you cover them up with a blanket, the towel above their head and them secure them to the stretcher,” he said.

So far, AMR has not received any calls for hypothermia this year, but Maxian said it’s something they prepare for during the winter.

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