Parkland Ambulance sees rise in hypothermia and frostbite calls

With the recent freezing temperatures felt across the province, Parkland Ambulance has seen a rise in cold exposure incidents in Prince Albert.

Director of Public Affairs for Parkland Ambulance Lyle Karasiuk said the morning shift responded to half a dozen calls for service Wednesday morning alone.

“Always when the temperature is extremely cold as it was the last few mornings, we will see a rise in those calls for service that are related to either hypothermia or frost bite,” said Karasiuk.

While there have been no serious incidents, Karasiuk said EMS was called to a report of a person who decided to walk versus staying with their vehicle after breaking down on their way to work.

Parkland Ambulance has provided some cold weather reminders to ensure Prince Albert residents stay safe.

            •           Dress in layers – Mittens, toques, gloves, warm winter boots and face protection are essential.

            •           Take frequent breaks to warm up indoors if working outside.

            •           Cold weather means a risk of frost bite – red patches or frozen white hard areas on the skin, such as fingers, toes, or on the face.

            •           If you see frost bite, get warm and stay warm. Don’t break blisters if they develop.

            •           Be on the lookout for symptoms of hypothermia – confusion, acting strangely, mumbling while talking. Act quickly and get paramedics to your aid.

Some tips for drivers travelling in freezing temperatures include:

            •           Being dressed for the weather.

            •           Pack along appropriate winter gear like blankets and shovels.

            •           Be prepared for emergencies – Bring a first aid kit, cell phone, snacks, and extra fuel.

            •           Plan for travel – Let others know where you are going and when to expect you back.

Temperatures plunged to a low of -39 C early Wednesday morning, causing Environment Canada to issue an extreme cold warning for the City of Prince Albert, RM of Buckland, and Wahpeton First Nation. Temperatures are expected to rise to as high as -8 C on Friday.

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