Hospitals, police prepare for brutally cold New Year’s Eve

INDIANAPOLIS, IN– The final day of 2017 will also be one of its coldest.

Local agencies are outlining their plans for New Year’s Eve.

More than 50,000 people are expected to flock to downtown Indianapolis for the Downtown Indy Inc. New Year’s Eve celebration. However, due to a projected forecast of extreme temperatures, Downtown Indy Inc. says they will be shortening their New Year’s Eve celebration. The celebration was originally supposed to kick off at 9 p.m. and go until 12:30 a.m., now it will kick off at 10:30 p.m. and run until 12:05 a.m.

“So we are cramming in all of our festivities and fun into one shortened timeline so that everyone can get warm afterwards,” spokesperson Jacqueline Eckhardt said.

Because New Year’s Eve is a night associated with large crowds and excess drinking, IMPD says they will be stepping up their response as well. Public Information Officer Genae Cook says the department will have a much larger presence in the downtown area, which will include tactical teams that are placed on standby along with officers specializing in crowd control. Cook says their DUI task force will also be out in large numbers.

“If it’s one of your friends that are starting to drink too much, it’s time to take them home, it might be before midnight, but unfortunately, it’s time to take them home. It’s better that you take them home and prevent any type of further disturbances or opportunity for them to go to jail,” she said.

Health professionals at Eskenazi Health say they’re also preparing for the big night.

The hospital is stocking up on items like warm blankets and warm IVs to help deal with cold-related injuries. Doctors say typically they also see cases involving alcohol poisoning and drunk driving crashes following the big night. However this year, one of the biggest concerns is the mixture of alcohol and extreme temperatures.

“It can get so bad with the cold weather that we get scared that some people may go unconscious in the snow and they can develop hypothermia or even frostbite,” Dr. Mark Liao said.

Liao recommends people drink plenty of water and warm drinks if they plan on going out. There will also be plenty of ambulances and health professionals on standby throughout the night.

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