First responders in Maricopa shouldered the burden of an unprecedented heat wave this summer.
Maricopa Fire and Medical Department saw a 35% increase in treatment for heat illnesses this year, according to data obtained from the department.
As of Aug. 21, MFMD treated 38 people for heat illnesses, including dehydration, heat exhaustion and hyperthermia. That total rose from 28 last year.
Heat exhaustion represented the biggest jump. First responders treated 14 people this year for that illness, a drastic hike from last year’s three patients.
The department did not provide a monthly breakdown.
This increase coincides with a record-breaking heat wave in Pinal County, a rise in heat-related deaths and increased emergency room visits for heat illnesses.
As of Aug. 18, the Pinal County Medical Examiner confirmed 15 heat-related deaths this year. The Arizona Department of Health Services recorded about 220 heat-related illness visits for the year.