IEMS crews prepare for hot temperatures and large crowds for race weekend

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Hoosiers are a day closer to the Indy 500, which means across the city preparations are kicking into high gear. That includes for EMS crews expecting large crowds and hot temperatures this weekend.

IEMS paramedics and EMT's said they're expecting to stay busy as they man downtown for the parade and the area around the track.

"We've got bikes and carts set up, they'll have tents set up at the parade, the coke lot, around the track for the different activities this weekend," IEMS paramedic Michelle Haywood said.

IEMS crews are spending the week checking supplies and loading up ambulances, bikes and golf carts to make sure they're ready to deploy. They expect to make about a dozen trips out to the track area this week to deliver supplies, which include about 500 different types of items, according to IEMS chief of logistics Kevin Gona.  He said the planning all started months ago.

"This is the longest, hardest month of the year for us to provide the support that we provide," Gona said. "We move and prepare thousands of items and we move them from major location to major location, we pick them up, we recover them, make sure everything's working when we drop it off, everything works and can be reused as necessary then we pick it back up again."

IEMS said it expects about 20 to 25 percent of its responses this weekend to be race event related.

"We anticipate it's gonna be hot so whenever the heat goes up our responses are heat related response, dehydration, heat stroke, sunburns, we'll see a lot of those things," Brian Van Bokkelen, the public affairs manager for IEMS, said.

The forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-80's. About a quarter of previous Indy 500's have reached 85 degrees, though the normal high temperature on race day is 77 degrees. The hottest race day on record was in 1937 when the temperature reached 92 degrees.

Paramedics said hydration will be key this weekend.

"You always have to make sure that you take care of yourself. Drink lots of water, keep water with you, keep sunscreen with you, reapply at all times, watch out for your friends," Van Bokkelen said.

"Start hydrating even a few days before, drinking plenty of fluids, staying in the cool if you can up until you go out, both for the race, the parade, any of those activities," Haywood said.

They're tips they said to keep in mind not just this weekend but throughout the summer.

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