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Austin-Travis County EMS warns of falls and hypothermia after hundreds of calls

The Austin Fire Department also warned about fires started around fireplaces and CO poisoning from charcoal.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin-Travis County EMS is asking the public to be wary amid dangerous weather conditions as the area awoke to single-digit temperatures and inches of ice and snow Monday morning.

"Falls on hard, ice-covered surfaces can be serious and even deadly," ATCEMS said Sunday. "Our responders are having extreme difficulties responding safely or even at all due to the current road conditions. PLEASE stay off icy areas!"

ATCEMS said it had responded to 850 more calls on Monday, from midnight to 3:45 p.m. p.m. Officials told KVUE the highest call volumes for Monday were for exposure and fall categories.

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"With frigid temperatures, hypothermia and frostbite is a real possibility here – careful with the kids too … stresses for safety for today moving forward into today," ATCEMS said.

Medics also gave an update on Sunday's totals, which are listed below:

  • 12 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. – 738 calls for services
    • 17 exposure calls
    • 44 traffic injuries, nine of which were rollovers
    • 50 ice-related falls

Meanwhile, the Austin Fire Department answered or dispatched more than 1,900 911 calls for service across Austin and Travis County from midnight on Sunday through 4:30 p.m. on Monday. Those included 10 collisions/rescues, three wire callouts, 50 public assistance callouts, 180 alarm activations, eight fires and 270 broken water pipes. 

AFD also responded to three working structure fires on Tuesday that were all related to fires starting around the fireplace. A fire at 6607 Brodie Lane displaced 20 apartments.

AFD and ATCEMS said they responded to four toxic exposure calls where residents were using charcoal in the home to stay warm, which is extremely dangerous and can quickly lead to death from carbon monoxide poisoning.

ATCEMS suggests anyone with a respiratory to stay indoors, as the cold air can be dangerous.


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