National | Regional voices: Chubu

Tweet requests public understanding for ambulance crews’ need to hydrate

Chunichi Shimbun

Amid a sharp rise in ambulance dispatches caused by this summer’s deadly heat waves, a Twitter post by the Nagoya Municipal Fire Department is attracting attention for asking the public to show patience with the ambulance crews’ convenience store breaks.

On July 26, the department’s official Twitter account posted: “When an ambulance is dispatched continuously, crew members sometimes stop in at convenience stores or other places to buy beverages in between calls. Even during these times, they are always ready to be dispatched. We kindly ask for your understanding.”

The tweet had been retweeted more than 62,000 times by August 13 and drew more than 78,000 likes.

According to fire department officials, ambulance calls rose in sync with a spike in heat exhaustion and heatstroke cases. Dispatches topped 500 a day between July 17 and 25 and peaked at 664 on July 23. The average for this year up to July 31 was 366. One crew was dispatched 22 times in a single day, they said. The fire officials said they decided to post the tweet because the department had been criticized by residents who saw ambulances being driven to stores for shopping. When ambulance crews don’t have enough time to return to the fire station between dispatches, they are allowed to take their meals and breaks outside, the officials explained.

“Usually, we tell crew members not to stop anywhere when they are in ambulances or fire engines, but they should at least be given time to stay hydrated,” one official said.

The official said the department was both surprised and relieved to see many Twitter posts saying crew members should be able to take care of themselves as well.

The department’s Twitter account also received a lot of feedback when it posted “We will definitely save you” before participating in search and rescue operations in the flood-hit Mabicho district in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, last month.

This section features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published on July 31.