Flu Outbreak Keeping Kansas City Area Firefighters And Paramedics Busy | KCUR

Flu Outbreak Keeping Kansas City Area Firefighters And Paramedics Busy

Jan 24, 2018

The Kansas City Fire Department says it's getting an extra 25-30 medical calls a day because of the flu outbreak.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

We know that the flu outbreak around Kansas City is bad, and it's keeping doctors, emergency rooms and walk-in clinics hopping.

But local firefighters and paramedics are also carrying more of the load.

“I could say it’s probably increasing our call volume by 25 to 30 calls a day,” says Kansas City Fire Department Deputy Chief Tom Collins.

On an average day, KCFD responds to about 325 medical calls, according to Collins. So that's about a 10 percent increase in the department's caseload.

He says the total number of medical calls jumped 9.5 percent in December compared with a year earlier.

Some people panic and call 911 when a respiratory problem arises; others simply need a ride to the hospital.

“Most people don’t want to sit on the bus for three hours to try and get to the hospital or they don’t have the money for a taxi or an Uber to get there,” Collins says.

The flu also has led to an apparent increase in calls at MED-ACT in Johnson County.

"Calls for those signs that suggest the flu — there is an uptick in that," says MED-ACT spokeswoman Alyson Angell.

The KCK Fire Department says it has not seen an increase in flu related calls.

Sam Zeff  is KCUR's Metro Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @samzeff.