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Extreme heat takes toll on deputies

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jul 22, 2022

TULSA, Okla. — Extreme temperatures can pose a serious health risk for anyone spending long hours in the heat.

Some of those people are first-responders, police officers, and sheriff's deputies.

Kimber Take has been a deputy with Tulsa County Sheriff's Office for nearly 15 years. Her shift starts at 8:00 a.m. She spends most of her day on the road and in the heat.

"We patrol the streets and stop traffic violations and we also just kind of keep an eye out for anything suspicious or abnormal that's going on," Take said.

She said some days are longer than others.

"Any time you get a call that's going to take a while, type of call, like any type of death investigation, or any larger crime scene type of call, you're going to be out in for a while whether it's hot or cold," Take said.

She said summers are especially busy.

"We get a lot of heat related phone calls in the summer," Take said.

In Tulsa, EMSA has responded to 111 suspected heat-related calls in July, as triple digit temperatures create dangerous conditions for Oklahomans. First responders, like Deputy Take, EMSA, and police, must go out into those same dangerous conditions to help them.

"It's not an easy job, but you add the extreme temperatures with it and it's just a little bit harder," Take said.

Take does it all, while wearing 30 extra pounds of equipment including a bulletproof vest and utility belt.

"Especially if you're hot and sweaty, it definitely feels like more than that," Take said.

Deputies spend much of their day patrolling. Deputy Take said she gets in and out of her car up to 40 times in an eight hour shift. She said the heat can quickly sneak up on her.

"Personally, I like to bring a gallon or more of water with me everyday that I just kind of move around or whatever is easiest for me to drink, and I also bring electrolytes with me because if I'm out of the vehicle and I'm sweating all day, I want to replace all of that," Take said.

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