As temps drop, first responders warn of hypothermia - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

As temps drop, first responders warn of hypothermia

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

With frigid temperatures in the area over the next few days, hypothermia and even death are becoming a real concern for first responders.

One of those first responders is Mike Lopez. He's shoveling to get ahead of the next storm, but snow on his driveway is not his only concern.

"We're concerned about the elderly and homeless," Lopez said. Lopez is with the Spokane and Spokane Valley Fire Departments and is now a health services manager. He was also a paramedic for several years.

"I have responded to people who have died from hypothermia," Lopez said.

Typically, someone can get hypothermia in a half an hour. But because it's so cold, hypothermia could become life threatening even faster.

"We're concerned that in 15 minutes someone can develop life-threatening hypothermia."

That's why it's vitally important to recognize the early signs of hypothermia like confusion and lack of coordination. Lopez encourages everyone to keep an eye on one another, especially the elderly and homeless this week.

"Get inside and dress warmly if you're in the elements."

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