KANSAS CITY, Mo -- The weather forecast for the Chiefs game has gotten slightly better, but first-responders are prepared for the worst: a lot of weather-related injuries.
Being safe in the elements has a lot to do with you, like how you dress and how you behave.
With the wind chill hovering around zero, first-responders are expecting to see an overwhelming number of weather related injuries at the Chiefs game Sunday.
"The big concern is with the first-aid stations. There's a cement barrier, so you just physically can’t fit any more people in them,” said KCFD Medical Director Erica Carney. “So if the first aid stations overflow, there's nowhere else to put the people.”
The Kansas City Fire Department has found a solution to the possible overflow problem. Ride KC is going to help heat KC.
Paramedics will turn an ATA bus into a warming center and medical unit, taking patients that KU Hospital’s first aid centers can’t.
It's a trick used by KCFD in the past, Deputy Chief Jimmy Walker said.
“Sometimes if we have a large fire, we will call the ATA and have then bring a bus by,” Walker said. “It helps us shelter people before the Red Cross can come in and give us assistance.”
During last Saturday’s game against the Colts, KU Hospital staff treated 174 people, and 14 were taken to the hospital by ambulance. That’s more than usual.
Many of those cases were alcohol-related. Alcohol clouds your judgment, and you might not recognize the signs of being cold -- until it's too late.
“And on top of that, alcohol is very dehydrating. So a good way to stay warm is by staying hydrated because that allows your blood to flow all the way to your fingers and your toes,” Carney said. “So if you are dehydrated and not thinking of clearly because of alcohol, the two can cause you to get dangerously cold real quick.”
Shivering is a red flag something is wrong. By the time your body stops shivering, that's when things can get dangerous.
Hypothermia can happen in minutes, sometimes causing permanent damage. The treatment requires active measures by medical professionals, and it can take hours to days to warm back up.
"Please dress warm,” Walker said. “I cannot stress that enough. And limit your alcohol consumption, that way you can feel the cold come on a little bit better.”
The Emergency Operations Center is activating for the AFC Championship game. Fire and police departments will work in conjunction to handle any crisis that may come up. It's quicker to turn to the guy next to you and coordinate an emergency response than communicating through dispatch centers.