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Bethesda & Chevy Chase, MD
NW Washington, DC
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July 26, 2010
Rescue Squad Responds in Aftermath of Storm
The Rescue Squad responded to 56 calls–twice its average call volume–in the 24-hour period after a violent storm ripped through the Rescue Squad’s service area. The storm claimed 3 lives in the D.C. area (none in the Squad's service area) and downed scores of trees and many electric power lines, leaving 200,000 households in Montgomery County and the District of Columbia without power during 90+ degree heat.
In an average 24-hour period, Rescue Squad units respond to 27 calls. However, from 3:30 pm on Sunday July 25 to 3:30 pm on July 26, Rescue Squad ambulances, medic units, rescue squads, and chief officers responded to 56 calls and racked up 73 unit responses. (A "unit response" occurs when one unit responds to a call; if two units respond to the same call, it is counted as two unit responses).
Rescue Squad units were dispatched to 21 medical emergencies, 10 vehicle collisions, 9 reports of persons injured, 7 instances of wires down, 3 house fires, 2 activated smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, 1 auto fire, and 3 other assorted calls.
While many of these types of incidents routinely occur on any given day, many were clearly caused by the weather, such as the incidents involving electric wires down. “In many cases, the medical calls were also related to the weather,” stated Paramedic Lt. Mario Weber. “For example, we responded to an individual experiencing trouble breathing secondary to dehydration from the heat. In another case, we responded to a resident with a left ventricular assist device (an implantable pump that assists the heart) who needed to go to the hospital simply because he had no way to charge his batteries and was down to his last one.”
Even the Rescue Squad was not immune to the effects of the storm. Electric power to our station was knocked out along with sections of the Battery Park neighborhood. Although we have a backup generator for essential functions so we can respond to emergency calls, Squad volunteers and staff went without air conditioning for two days while we waited for Pepco to restore power.