MESA, Ariz. (KSAZ) - When the temperatures increase, so do the number of heat related calls to various fire departments throughout the valley.
This time of year, nurse practitioner Renee Kania, with the Mesa Fire Department, is extra busy. The calls she answers are almost always related to heat.
"It's very scary, it's very serious," she said.
Kania says heat stroke is the most serious of them all, where patients move beyond the stages of simple dehydration.
"A lot of people are experiencing things like dizziness, light headedness," she said. "They get headaches, they get fatigue, their body temperature goes up as high as 104, 105 degrees. They can become confused, disoriented and can lead to unconsciousness or changes in behavior."
Kania says, "At that point, you need to call 9-1-1.. You can drink water before you get to that point, but head stroke is often and occurs late as a sign of heat-related illness."
Deputy Chief Forrest Smith of Mesa Fire says 80 percent of call are medical-related and the increase can be exhausting on crews, as well.
"This time of the year we see an increase in calls that have to do with heat injuries," he said. "We can talk about heat exhaustion, heat stroke or sunburns. We have people call like that. These calls for service increase as people expose themselves more and more to heat."
What exactly do they do in these heat-related instances?
"The first thing they do is bring the patient into a cool environment," he said.
Kania and the firefighters carry all of the supplies; ice bags and ice packs that are needed to help a patient.
Ready at a moment's notice, knowing full-well how hard it is to beat the heat. They're also very careful about how much water they drink and how often they rest when working in the hot weather.