People encouraged to call for help in light of recent heat-related deaths

SPOKANE, Wash. — People have been warned about the dangerous extreme heat Spokane been experiencing and now, it’s seeing the worst possible outcomes.

This afternoon, the Spokane County Medical Examiner said seven people have died of suspected heat-related illness in this heat wave.

PAST COVERAGE: Medical Examiner now says 7 in Spokane possibly dead from heat-related issues

Not much is known about them other than three were two men and woman. The woman was in her 60s, while the two men were in their 30s and 70s. Autopsies will be done to determine exactly what happened.

What is known is they either didn’t know about, or chose not to use, these cooling centers designed to keep people cool and safe.

Battling high temperatures the past few days, Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer says they kind of knew what to expect.

“We doubled our emergency medical volume everyday in a 24 hour period the last few days. That’s an expectation. Any time we have a loss of life that is certainly not expected,” Schaeffer said.

With more details coming out about those who died as a result of the high temperatures, he reminds everyone to use their tragedy as a lesson learned.

“Oftentimes when we see our body respond to that exceptional heat event. It’s oftentimes a late sign,” Schaeffer said.

Some reminders about what people should watch out for in the extreme heat are heat exhaustion can quickly turn to heat stroke; call 911 if someone has a throbbing headache, nausea or vomiting, and a loss of consciousness; and watch out for their neighbors, especially those in vulnerable positions.

“My advice as a lesson learned for people in the similar situation is to call early. Call early, and try to, try to get help right away because that’s not something that can ever gets better overtime,” Schaeffer said.

There are also resources available, such as cooling centers, that the city says are being under utilized.

“We’ve had about 20 people at any one time, but typically it’s 1s and 2s, and a lot of times, there’s plenty of spaces available in those cooling centers that is not being utilized,” said City spokesperson Brian Coddington.

Hydration is key in staying safe from the heat and Schaeffer recommends people start hydrating 48 hours before they go outside. There is help available including calling 3-1-1.

RELATED: Hundreds believed dead in heat wave despite efforts to help 

RELATED: Surge in heat-related illnesses, over 40 calls in the past three days