Fort Worth first responders, emergency officials prep for arctic blast

MedStar and emergency management teams in Fort Worth are prepared for the cold weather impact.

The cold weather is expected to have quite a punch going into the new year, with overnight lows in the teens and highs in the low 30s. But emergency responders have already been responding to cold weather-related calls this week.

“We've had a call already this week where an elderly resident had been living in a relatively cool house to save money on the heating bill and that cumulative effect over 24 to 48 hours can result in hypothermia,” said Matt Zavadsky, MedStar.

Since Christmas, Medstar has made about a half dozen calls involving people affected by the cold, including a few involving people who work outside. MedStar has ways to fight back, from heated IVs and blankets to everything in between.

The cold is also a problem for the homeless.

"We start asking our community centers that normally do housing of homeless to start counting their beds,” said Randy Westerman, Fort Worth OEM.

The Fort Worth Office of Emergency Management advises people to be prepared if they’re out driving by having an emergency kit with more than a flashlight and first aid. A blanket and extra coats and food and water could make a big difference until help arrives.

There's even a plan to look out for first responders.

“If we're responding to someone outside in an unprotected area and the real-feel temperature is less than 25 degrees, we increase the priority to respond to that call to get the person and first responders on the scene back into a warm environment as quickly as possible,” Zavadsky said.