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How Boston EMS keeps people safe in cold weather

Friday, January 24, 2014, 9:31pm
(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Boston) - Boston EMS is busy pretty much all the time, but when the temperature drops, the calls for help increase even more.

“Anytime that we have extremes of weather, the EMS system is taxed," said Deputy Superintendent Edmund Hassan.

Hassan says the cold weather complicates performing their job, as well.

“The work itself becomes more difficult, especially for the crews, the work becomes more physically demanding because they’re out in the elements for eight and 10 hours at a time, really without a break,” he said.

EMS responded to calls throughout the city for people needing medical attention due at least in part to the cold temperatures.

Hassan says a lot of the people they see suffering this time of year are homeless.

“He spends most of his days and nights on the street, and I think the extremes of the cold were just making a lot of his medical problems worse than what they normally are," said Hassan. "He’s in the ambulance now where he’s warm, the crew’s going to check his vital signs and he’s going to be transported to the hospital, make sure he’s okay.”

The city’s hospitals, like Tufts Medical Center, are seeing their fair share of patients due to this extremely cold weather we’re having.

“Things like frost bite, trips and falls on the ice, hypothermia," said Assistant Chief of Emergency Medicine at Tufts Dr. Matthew Mostofi.

Dr. Mostofi says it may seem like common sense but your best weapon against the cold is covering up.

“Wear your boots, wear your gloves, when it really gets cold out, layer your clothing, so the loose layered clothing traps air in there, and air’s a good insulator,” he said.
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