Experts warn about potentially deadly heat

June 18, 2018

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – With temperatures nearing triple digits, it’s important to keep yourself hydrated, shaded and alert. Your watchful eye could keep a senior citizen alive.

Experts say if you can’t stand the heat, stay inside.

“The main thing is try to stay out of the sun as much as possible,” said Chad Greedan.

Greedan is the field operations supervisor for the Richmond Ambulance Authority.

The Authority has been on standby, making sure they’re prepared to cool you down in case of an emergency.

EMTs aren’t exempt from the temperatures either.

“These trucks are metal boxes,” Greedan said. “They do tend to get hot, even with the air conditioning on.”

Jabril Little, an EMT, says the heat is “a little tedious,” but the job still has to be done.

The teams hoses down the trucks and fills them up with ice and Gatorade. That work is two-fold. They can’t help you, unless they’re nice and cool too.

“People call rather frequently when it gets this hot,” Greedan explained. “We’ll get anywhere from a dozen calls a day for welfare checks for people getting hot!”

Things are only heating up. Tuesday is expected to be even hotter.

That’s why crews suggest checking up on your elderly neighbors, just like they do.

“We’ll go out and check on especially concerned neighbors, check on the elderly, especially if they don’t have air conditioning or fans to stay cool.” Greedan said.

“We worry about dehydration because many older people have chronic diseases,” said Jo Simms with Senior Connections. “They take a lot of medications, and a lot of times they don’t even become aware that they’re becoming dehydrated.”

Senior Connections is a non-profit agency for older people. This cooling program allows those sixty or older and 150 percent of the poverty level to get set up with a free fan.

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RAA Bike Medics go through IPMBA training

June 12, 2018

The Richmond Ambulance Authority trained bike medics Tuesday. These medics are trained through the International Police Mountain Bike Association or IPMBA standards which are the “gold standard” for public safety cycling training.

The bike medics have been IPMBA trained for the past 10 years and RAA was one of the first  EMS systems in the state to be trained. These medics can get to the patients ambulances cannot maneuver to during events with large crowds like this weekend’s 5K Bike Ride and Community Day. Riders are taught how to balance, and ride through different obstacles while carrying medical supplies.

The use of bicycles by police, EMS, and security personnel continues to grow along with increased awareness of the benefits of an extremely mobile team of first responders. The goal is to provide assistance to those who need it as quickly, safely and effectively as possible.


Officials continue to urge water safety after woman rescued from James

June 10th, 2018

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Emergency officials in the Richmond area continue to urge people to be extra careful when they’re at the James River. On Saturday, a woman who couldn’t swim got trapped on a rock in the middle of the river.

The easiest thing to do to keep yourself safe in unpredictable waters? Wear a life jacket.

“The first thing is to always wear a personal flotation device or PFD,” said Ashley Shiraishi, Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA). “It’s kind of like of seatbelt. If you are not wearing it correctly, it’s not going to help you. It’s there to help you if the conditions become to hazardous or if you’re not able to swim and yourself correctly.”

The RAA is one of the first emergency services to be on the scene during a river rescue like Saturday’s.

According to Richmond Fire, the woman who was rescued did not have a PFD.

Shiraishi also adds that drugs, alcohol and swimming in the James do not mix.

“It definitely impairs your survival abilities and your decision-making abilities,” said Shiraishi. “I think a significant amount of water rescues are related to consumption of alcohol or illegal substances.”

And it’s important to keep track of river levels before going out on the water – something Dakota Clifford and his friends always do before going rafting.

“The water is always something that you have to be respectful of,” said Clifford. “It can be dangerous at times. As long as you go out there and are cognizant of that and be safe when you’re on the river, than you’re not going to run into problems.”

It’s also important to monitor young children when they are in or near the water.

Firefighters say that when the river is above five feet, it is required to have a personal flotation device.

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National CPR and AED Awareness Week Comes to an End


June 8, 2018

National CPR and AED Awareness Week has come to an end. RAA continues to stress the importance of learning CPR.

In 2007, the American Heart Association, in coalition with the American Red Cross and the National Safety Council, worked collaboratively to federally designate a National CPR and AED Awareness Week, which happens the first seven days of June each year.

According to the American Heart Association more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year. About 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die.

When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby. Only about 46 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

Many Americans don’t perform CPR because they don’t know what to do or they are afraid of hurting the person. To help increase the likelihood of people performing CPR in an emergency, the American Heart Association recommends Hands-Only CPR, which has two easy steps. Step 1: Call 911. Step 2: Push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives.

Check RAA’s calendar for more information about when you can register for upcoming classes.

Ecuadoran doctors learn life lessons in Richmond

March 22, 2018

RICHMOND, Va. — It is a hands-on lesson, with quite a reach.

Francisco Martinez and Juana Cordero, new physicians, soaked up knowledge nearly 3,000 miles from home.

The doctors from Ecuador immersed themselves in the Pan American Trauma Society’s Observer Program.

For six weeks, the surgeons-in-training worked side by side with professionals at Richmond Ambulance Authority and VCU.

“For me it is the best. I couldn’t think of doing anything else,” Dr. Martinez said

“We were in the truck. We were going to calls. 911 calls. All kind of calls,” Dr. Cordero added. “I’ve always wanted to help people and besides I like blood.”

The young doctors gained invaluable experience on the ambulance, in the E.R. and the classroom.

Dr. Martinez, 25, called the exposure to patient care in the United States priceless.

“So, it is really nice to talk to them. Know what they are experiencing and to make them feel better and take them to the hospital. In the right way,” Dr. Martinez said.

Dr. Cordero, 24, said learning from some of the best physicians and first responders was an enriching experience.

“The team here knows exactly what to do,” Dr. Cordero said.

Rob Lawrence, with Richmond Ambulance Authority, said the young ambassadors could become thought leaders in medicine and patient care back in Ecuador.

“We like to pay everything forward that we learn. Whether it is in Richmond, Virginia, the United States, or globally,” Lawrence said. “From a medical perspective the world is a village and we can learn a lot from each other.”

VCU surgeon Dr. Edgar Rodas taught Juana and Martinez in their native Ecuador. Dr. Rodas said the intense training can strengthen their foundation as doctors.

“Hopefully they can make a difference in influencing people coming here,” Dr. Rodas said.

“I think it is going to be hard. But I think it is a great experience of life. A great experience of life,” Dr. Cordero said.

The grateful doctors said when they return to South America to launch their career as lifesavers, their patients will always get a dose of Richmond with their care.

“The feeling of the people when they say thanks for your service it is the best you can feel,” Dr. Martinez said.

Dr. Cordero got a lesson outside of the E.R. and Ambulance Authority when she experienced her first snowfall while in Richmond.

The doctors recently returned to Ecuador and another group of doctors from South America will arrive in Richmond the first week of April.

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