Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia and Frostbite

wind chill chartIt is COLD out there! If you need to be out and about in this weather, please dress appropriately and avoid prolonged exposure to the cold. Not dressing appropriately and staying outside too long in these cold temperatures could lead to serious cold related illness and injury such as Hypothermia or Frostbite.

Please take a moment to learn the Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia and Frostbite from our friends at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also learn what to do if you, or another person, are exhibiting signs or symptoms of either condition.

Hypothermia

A condition in which the body uses up its stored energy and can no longer produce heat. Often occurs after prolonged exposure to cold temperature.

Early symptoms

  • Shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Confusion and disorientation

Late symptoms

  • No shivering
  • Blue skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Slowed pulse and breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

First Aid

  • Request immediate medical assistance.
  • Move the victim into a warm room or shelter.
  • Remove wet clothing.
  • Warm the center of their body first—chest, neck, head, and groin—using an electric blanket; or use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, or towels.
  • If conscious, warm beverages may help increase the body temperature. Do not give alcohol.
  • Once temperature has increased keep them dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.
  • If no pulse, begin CPR.

Frostbite

An injury to the body that is caused by freezing, which most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes.

Symptoms

  • Reduced blood flow to hands and feet
  • Numbness
  • Aching
  • Tingling or stinging
  • Bluish or pale, waxy skin

First Aid

  • Get into a warm room as soon as possible.
  • Unless necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes. Immerse the affected area in warm (not hot) water, or warm the affected area using body heat. Do not use a heating pad, fireplace, or radiator for warming.
  • Do not massage the frostbitten area; doing so may cause more damage.

 

Crew Reunites With Trauma Patient

By: Battalion Chief Bill Betz
Captain II Wayne Wentzel

On November 28, units from the 1st Battalion, B-Shift, had an opportunity to attend a Trauma Case Review at the Reston Hospital Center (RHC). The cases were presented by the RHC Medical Director of Trauma Services and were focused on three trauma patients that were treated and transported to RHC by our firefighter and paramedics that were in attendance.

This was an excellent opportunity for firefighters and paramedics to see how patient care is managed once the patient arrives at the emergency room through their outcome after the traumatic event. While RHC trauma doctors were reviewing the first case, a significant hand injury, they surprised everyone by having the patient speak to share his experience.

Crews had the unique opportunity to hear from the patient himself about the care he received from the fire and rescue personnel as well as RHC staff. It was rewarding to hear from the patient and how his road to recovery has been progressing.

The patient also had the opportunity to speak with the crew of Medic 404, Herndon, who treated and transported him to RHC. He was excited to meet the crew and was very thankful for all they had done for him in the short time he was in their care.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department paramedic units transport many patients to local hospitals daily and rarely get an opportunity to see how their work impacts the long-term survival of these patients. This was yet another great example of how hard work and dedication of fire and rescue personnel, along with the great partnerships we have with our regional hospital partners, can positively impact those we serve.

Hand Injury

Firefighter Goza (l) and Captain Robb (r) with the patient showing how his hand has healed from the significant traumatic injury he suffered.

 

 

Home Holiday Fire Facts

It is that wonderful time of year when there are many holiday celebrations occurring. Please take a moment to review the below facts and video about home holiday fires from our partners in safety at the United States Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association. 

•One of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.

•Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.

•A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four Christmas tree fires.

•The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.

•Candles start two out of five home decoration structure fires.

The Play (Training) Is Under Review: Paramedic Students Learn From Real-Life Scenarios And Video

By: Lieutenant Christopher Kroboth
EMS Training Section

Paramedic students closed out the Respiratory section of their Paramedic training with two weeks of real-time, real-life scenarios. One uniqueness to the Fairfax – Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) paramedic program is that the students act as patients while their fellow students “respond” to their emergency. This helps the students appreciate the patient perspective and brings life and new insight into the post-scenario discussion, also known as “the debrief”.

The students who are playing the “patient” have to moulage themselves – figure out how they (as the patient) will present, breathe, act and speak to the “responding” student based on their complaint/problem – as well as know how to respond to the treatment choices and actions of the “responding” crew. The diseases reviewed in the training scenarios ranged from severe asthma and congestive heart failure to pulmonary embolism and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Using live role-players also greatly enhances the student’s learning by allowing students to practice patient assessments and history taking on live “patients.” The student “patients” wear IV pad trainers on their arms so their classmates will have to “start IV’s on them”, draw up and deliver simulated medications, and even hook them up to different airway devices. By requiring the student learners to actually do this in real time, every treatment and action they call for teaches them the power of timely decision-making, crew resource management, and gives them the complete picture of team performance with patient care.

The students who are not directly involved in the training scenario, are tasked with filming it from start to finish so that the “responding” lead student in the scenario can watch their performance later that day and critique themselves.

This is a model our EMS Training Section staff took from the professional sports industry of performance self-reflection. It has really helped the students appreciate how they operate under stress, and allows them to compare what they thought happened to what really did happen.

 

 

 

Five Dangers Of Deep Frying A Turkey

Over the last several years, deep frying a turkey has become a popular way to cook thanksgiving dinner. It has also become a very dangerous way to cook a thanksgiving meal!

Take a moment to watch the below Turkey Fryer Demonstration video from our partners in safety at Underwriters Laboratories (UL). As well, please review the Five Dangers Of Deep Frying A Turkey:

  1. Turkey fryers can easily tip over spilling hot oil across a large area.
  2. An overfilled cooking pot will cause oil to spill over when the turkey is placed inside.
  3. A partially frozen turkey will cause hot oil to splatter.
  4. Turkey fryers can easily overheat and start a fire.
  5. The pot, lid and handles of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries.

 

Keeping Your Little Ghouls And Goblins Safe

Halloween can be a scary time as it relates to fire safety. Decorations and candles in particular can turn your Halloween into a horrifying experience if care is not taken.

We want to make sure your little ghouls and goblins have a fun time safely. Please take a moment to view the below picto-graph, from our partners in safety at the National Fire Protection Association, for some helpful tips to keep this Halloween a safe one for you and your loved ones.

Halloween fire safety tips

Accessible version here

Halloween by the numbers*

  • 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 840 home structure fires annually that began with decorations.
  • These fires caused an average of 2 civilian deaths, 36 civilian injuries, and $11.4 million in direct property damage per year.
  • Almost half (45%) of these fires were tied to decorations being too close to some type of heat source, such as a candle. A fire can start when candles are too close to decorations or when long, trailing costumes come into contact with candles.

*From the NFPA