Heat-related 911 calls increase across the Triangle area: EMS data

Sean Coffey Image
Monday, September 4, 2023
EMS data shows uptick in heat-related 911 calls in Triangle
As temperatures soar once again this week, new data is showing the impacts extended heatwaves can have on first responders and EMS workers.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As temperatures soar once again this week, new data is showing the impacts extended heatwaves can have on first responders and EMS workers.

A national EMS database -- tracked in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services -- shows several local counties saw heat-related 911 call volumes that were well above the national average.

"It also means we have to increase our personnel on scenes, not only to help the individuals who can't help themselves but also so we don't become a kind of victim ourselves," said Nathan Lozinsky, Fire Chief for the town of Morrisville.

Lozinsky says the frequency in the number of heat-related calls can tax his team, and that the bigger swings in temperature overnight to mid-day this time of year present their own dangers.

"That fluctuation in temperature does create a little bit of a concern for me, just that self-awareness and departmental awareness of where we're at with the temperature and the weather," said Lozinsky.

In August, a heatwave drove heat-related calls in Wake and Durham Counties to more than double the national average. In Orange County, the figures were well above average, too.

"We've got a variety and a vast geographic location to cover. And with the heat, it just brings more calls to us," said Orange County EMS Supervisor James Johnson.

Johnson said the return of students and the diversity of the region they respond to can leave the department stretched thin.

"We're already busy enough. It's taxing with the heat going on, we get more calls during the heat. We've got a variety of areas in Orange County itself with the university, school systems, and you've got rural areas too and farming communities," Johnson said.

Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke

How to survive a prolonged heat wave

AccuWeather has tips for making it through a prolonged heat wave.

Staying Safe in Extreme Heat

Adults older than 65, children younger than four, people with existing medical conditions, and those without access to air conditioning are at the greatest risk on days with high temperatures.

Drinking plenty of water and staying out of the sun are critical precautions.

People should also check on their neighbors who may be at high risk and ensure they have access to heat relief and hydration.


People looking to get some relief from this week's heatwave can stop by a cooling station.

Hours: Tuesday, September: Noon - 5:15 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m.

  • Raleigh: Wake County Health & Human Services, 220 Swinburne St.
  • Raleigh: Wake County Health & Human Services Center at Departure, 5809 Departure Drive
  • Zebulon: Eastern Regional Center, 1002 Dogwood Drive
  • Wake Forest Northern Regional Center, 350 E. Holding Ave.
  • Fuquay-Varina: Southern Regional Center, 130 N Judd Parkway NE
  • Cary: Western Health and Human Services Center, 111 James Jackson Ave.
  • Wake County Public Libraries locations during normal operating hours

Closing times for libraries vary, so visitors should check online or call their local library for site-specific information.

EMS stations, fire stations and county fleet maintenance buildings will not be available as cooling stations.