The last night of the year is often one of the busiest for paramedics.
From frostbite to impaired driving and overindulgence, Troy Davies with Medavie Health Services said Saskatoon paramedics are bracing for a busy evening. Their biggest concern tonight will almost certainly be the frigid temperature, he said, which is expected to fall as low as -27C.
“When we see temperatures like this we already know that we are going to be busy tonight,” Davies said. “Especially when we haven’t had any of this weather up to basically today, it does cause concern for us.”
If you don’t plan ahead, Davies said it’s easy to find yourself outdoors after an event with no ride home or winter clothing. This can lead to very poor decisions such as impaired driving, he said, or frostbite from walking in the cold.
“The biggest thing is people not planning ahead,” Davies said. “You’re probably not going to get a cab within five minutes after an event.”
Davies said frostbite may require medical treatment depending on its severity. Frostbite should not be treated by running the affected area under hot water, he noted, because the frostbitten person won’t be able to feel the temperature and water that’s too hot can cause additional damage.
Medical issues caused by over-indulgence in alcohol or drugs are another common call for paramedics on New Year’s Eve.
“There’s going to be a lot of celebrating going on,” Davies said. “We’re not going to ask anybody not to do it, but we are going to ask that people do it responsibly.”
To help everyone enjoy the night as safely as possible Davies said it’s important to look after your friends. Don’t let someone leave an event if they are too intoxicated and may drive or wander in the cold, he said, and don’t leave someone alone if they have passed out and may vomit.
New Year’s Eve is typically one of the busiest nights for the ambulance service, Davies said, with a many as 250 calls coming in. Many of these calls can be avoided, he said, through a little planning and a bit of common sense.
“We want everybody to have fun, but at the same time be safe,” he said.