St. Louis firefighters prepare for one-two punch of heat and fireworks

ST. LOUIS - The Fourth of July is the busiest, more dangerous 24-hours for St. Louis firefighters. Between the building heat and humidity and the misuse of fireworks, emergency crews see a very high volume of calls.

In 2018, there were 18,500 fires caused by fireworks between June 20 and July 25, including one in south St. Louis that destroyed the Macklind Avenue Deli.

The CDC reported 11,000 fireworks-related injuries requiring hospital visits, forty percent of which involve children. Fireworks are illegal in the city of St. Louis and the fire department is asking for citizens to abide by the law and report those who aren’t.

Add to that the dangerous heat and humidity and the toll that can take on the body. The St. Louis Fire Department responded to 200 heat-related calls over the weekend. Calls came from the area’s outdoor Pride festivities but also from people inside homes that were just too hot to be healthy.

People at greatest risk for heat-related illness include young children; people 65 and older; people who are overweight or have existing medical conditions. St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson says sometimes people don’t realize just how hot they are and we need to check on them.

“You don’t text them. You don’t call them on the phone. We want you to go to knock on their doors, go to their house, talk to them, and most importantly, touch them, see if they are hot to the touch,” explains Jenkerson.

Cool Down St. Louis makes sure utility bills are paid so air conditioners stay on. They also distribute brand-new energy-efficient air-conditioners to those who qualify. You can seek assistance or donate to help their efforts by visiting Cooldownstlouis.org.

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