ComEd, CFD respond to calls during heat wave

July 21, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Crews worked to restore power near Ashland and Diversey on Chicago's North Side Friday. No power could mean no air conditioning and no fans for some people during this extreme heat. ComEd says 400 crews are out making sure the power is on.

The Chicago Fire Department is also busy responding to 911 calls from people overcome by the heat. Because of the number of calls coming in, the fire department added additional ambulance crews. Veteran fire officials say there was a similar spike in emergency calls during the deadly heat wave in 1995.

"In '95, if I can relate back to that, I remember it was about the fourth day or so when the runs went on a big swing. Hopefully, this will break within the next 48-72 hours," said Chief Robert Ambos, CFD.

Fire officials are warning city residents to not open fire hydrants. While the surge of water from the hydrants may be a tempting way to cool off, it causes a drop in water pressure and it's hampering firefighting efforts.

"They're not using proper equipment. We can't shut them down because of the damage," said Dist. Chief Tom Kennedy, CFD.

Health officials are reminding people that when it is this hot, the body even at rest can lose a quart of fluid an hour. Young children are especially vulnerable because their bodies take longer to adjust to the extreme heat.

"Staying cool, avoiding excessive exertion in this type of temperature environment and most importantly, to look after those around us, the elderly in our neighborhoods," said Dr. David Howes, emergency room physician.

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