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Austin first responders warn of potential heat-related illness this weekend

(PHOTO: CBS Austin)

Meteorologists are predicting potential record-breaking heat this Memorial Day weekend. Austin Travis County EMS warns the hot temperatures and high humidity can be dangerous.

Since Monday, EMS has responded to 15 heat-related calls. Five of the heat-related emergencies happened Friday and first responders only expect that number to rise during the holiday weekend.

ATCEMS Commander Mike Benavides said many people will plan to spend this holiday outside at a pool, lake or splash pad, but he warns you can still fall victim to heat exhaustion if you’re in the water.

“It’s just all of the sudden summer’s here,” said Jen Estes. Estes brought her two children to an East Austin splash pad Friday afternoon to beat the heat.

“The municipal pools are great around here. Austin is such an outdoor city that in the summertime they have to come up with these ideas,” Estes said.

Benavides said being in and around the water is a great way to cool off, but said there are some steps you should take to prevent heat related illness.

“Avoid caffeine avoid alcohol that will dehydrate you quicker. Any kind of exertion or increased activity you can still become dehydrated especially if you're already dehydrated,” Benavides said.

Estes said she makes it a point to keep her small children drinking fluids and limits their time in the sun.

“We come down here for 20-30 minutes in the morning or early evening just to cool down,” Estes said.

EMS hasn't had any life-threatening heat related calls yet, but paramedics are prepared for what they expect to be a busy weekend.

“We have a lot more people outdoors enjoying Memorial Day Weekend so historically we see more incidents related to heat and so we don't expect anything different this weekend,” Benavides said.

Benavides recommends if someone becomes overheated, move them out of the sun and into the shade.

“Cool them with water. Use some ice packs if needed and then call 911 so our medical professionals can come and evaluate those patients,” Benavides said.

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