EMSA Responds To High Volume Of Flu-Related Calls In OKC

Tuesday, January 15th 2013, 6:13 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

The Flu is putting a severe strain on our Emergency Management system. EMSA says they're running their highest call volume ever, while paramedics are struggling themselves to stay well.

EMSA calls are up by 8 percent over this time last year and is still increasing, breaking records set typically during ice and snow storms.

Danielle Crain is an EMSA supervisor. Usually she doesn't work on a truck anymore. But she is on Tuesday.

"I'm putting up an extra truck to help out the field crews that have been really busy over the last month and a half," she said.

Busier than ever, EMSA is currently running the highest call volume ever experienced in Oklahoma City. EMSA believes it's because of the flu.

In addition, paramedic absences are up too.

"The problem is we're confined to a small box with the people who are actually having these symptoms so when they cough we breathe it in, we get it like everyone else," said Tony McCarty, EMSA Field Operations Supervisor.

In addition, the extra work is only making it harder for paramedics to stay healthy.

"We're running such high call volumes, it's running their defenses low," McCarty said.

With Many paramedics out sick, and record calls, everybody who is clinically certified is being put on the street including management staff, and supervisors like Daniell.

EMSA does give free flu shots to all their employees. Paramedics are also told to go home, change their closes and clean up before touching or hugging their loved ones.

With the flu getting increasingly worse, EMSA paramedics also say if you are coughing and have a fever you are contagious, so stay home.