Area firefighters prepare to battle an intense heatwave to keep citizens safe


ST. LOUIS – Firefighters on both sides of the river were preparing to battle a blistering heat wave headed our way.

Part of the St. Louis City Fire Department’s mission is to seek opportunities to serve. They were doing that Tuesday night by installing free air conditioners to people in need.

The founder of Cool Down St. Louis and firefighters from Engine House 26 delivered an air conditioner to Wilma Graham, her home was sizzling. Graham said, “Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, I’m going to be cool.”

Ameren Missouri donated 1,000 air conditioners to be given away. Businesses, and local and state governments have chipped in millions to help folks pay electric bills. Fire Captain Leon Whitener said, “The program saves lives.”

The captain said he has no problem finding firefighters willing to install the units which are desperately needed.  Captain Whitener added, “The cumulative effect of being exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time is very deadly for our senior population.”

Because of Covid-19 and the possibility of infection Cool Down St. Louis believes it’s better for the elderly to shelter at home instead of at a cooling center.  Gentry Trotter, the founder of the organization, said, “The only way to keep them safe right now is to stay at home turn on the air and keep on the air.”

In Edwardsville, paramedics responded to their third heat case today and are preparing for more as the heatwave moves in.

“Heat-related emergencies are a true emergencies,” said Lt. Jeremy Paschall is an Edwardsville Fire Department Paramedic.

Paramedics immediately administer an I.V. solution that’s been cooled as well as place cold packs at strategic points on the patient’s body to cool them down. He’s seen some people in bad shape.

“They’re just not coherent they’re not sure what’s going on they have a lack of coordination in the worst cases they’ve even stopped sweating,” said Lt. Paschall. 

Edwardsville is opening cooling centers Wednesday.”

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