Austin Fire responds to over 500 weather calls in one day; EMS responds to two CO incidents

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Fire Department said it responded to 823 emergency calls in the last 24 hours, an AFD tweet said Saturday afternoon. Those included over 500 freezing weather-related calls.

The department typically responds to 275 calls, on average, in a 24-hour shift. Friday’s calls were a nearly 200% increase than typical.

Austin firefighters responded mostly to fire alarm activation and broker water pipes calls, AFD said.

Austin-area plumbers told KXAN they frequently ran into situations Thursday and Friday where homemade faucet covers weren’t enough. They recommend double-checking outdoor faucet covers and dripping one inside faucet with hot water and another sink with cold water.

Austin-Travis County EMS said they responded to two carbon monoxide incidents Friday and 41 environmental incident calls.

Carbon monoxide exposures and poisonings increase in the winter when temperatures drop and home heating systems run for hours, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Tips to prevent CO poisoning include:

  • Checking or changing the batteries in your CO detector every six months.
  • Having your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Keeping vents and flues free of debris.
  • Never leaving the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Never running a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area.
  • Never using a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.
  • Never running a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open.

If you suspect poisoning, call 911 or a health care professional right away.

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