Trinity Health ambulance crews in Waterbury face the heat to help patients on emergency calls

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — News 8 got exclusive behind-the-scenes access Monday with EMS crews from Trinity Health of New England as they not only worried about their patients but also worried about themselves staying sharp in this extreme heat.

“It’s absolutely a lot hotter with the PPE on,” said EMT Kat Valente. “It kind of feels like an incubator on the inside.”

Before Kat Valente and her partner, fellow EMT, Niki Meka, hit the road Monday they were briefed by their field manager to take it easy and keep an extra close eye on one another for symptoms of heat-related illness. They were also instructed not to over-exert themselves.

A heat advisory was out for most of the state Monday, with temperatures reaching into the 90s and the humidity making it feel even hotter.

RELATED: Many schools dismissing early again Tuesday due to heat; how to stay cool during the heat advisory

“We signed up to save lives,” said Beth Szantyr, Field Supervisor for Trinity Health of New England EMS. “And sometimes we do put our own safety on the backburner. And that is absolutely something you have to look for on a hot day because people will try to push through and just keep going.”

Szantyr arrived on a call assigned to Valente and Meka with cold bottles of water to keep their energy up and to make sure they were hydrated.

“They keep us cool and allow us to do our jobs the most effective way possible,” Valente said.

Among the other measures they’re taking:

  • Air conditioning on in ambulances
  • Shake-ready cold packs in each ambulance
  • Frequent breaks

Valente says each EMS team feels more secure knowing the entire company has their backs, starting with each team in each ambulance.

She tells News 8 the PPE makes it more difficult to do the job on a hot day but they grind it out because she says they have important work to do for the community and they can take the heat.

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