Home American Medical Response 25 Treated For Heat-Related Emergencies During Graduation Ceremonies

25 Treated For Heat-Related Emergencies During Graduation Ceremonies

by ECT


During Heritage High School and Freedom High School graduation ceremonies, 25 people were treated for heat-related emergencies Saturday morning as temperatures hit triple digits before noon time.

According to Chief Henderson here was the breakdown:

  • 17 patients treated at Heritage High School
  • 8 patients treated at Freedom High School

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It should be noted, due to the amount of patients are Heritage HS, it was treated as a multi-casualty incident. Nine ambulances and three fire engines were on scene. 11-patients were ultimately transported to the hospital.  The first incident occurred at 10:20 am with Engine 52 arriving on scene.

At Freedom High School, where EastCountyToday was taking photographs of the ceremony, there were eight patients treated, with one transported to a hospital. In fact, with crews already busy, off-duty fire personnel who had children graduating assisted on some of the patients. These incidents began at roughly 10:53 am with Engine 93 being the first on scene.

“Crews did an excellent job handling both emergencies both on scene and in the dispatch centers,” said Chief Henderson.

The incidents involved multi-agency cooperation from ECCFPD, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, American Medical Response, Brentwood Police Department, Oakley Police Department and Contra Costa County Sheriff’s office.

It should be noted, during the incidents, all of the ambulances were used up for a period of time meaning there was none available had another incident occurred elsewhere in East County.

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The photographs from Heritage are courtesy of Art Michel from amproductions.biz

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Freedom Parent Jun 8, 2013 - 8:54 pm

A very nice graduation at freedom, but the school should have allowed water on the field or at least provided the kids with water.

ECV Jun 8, 2013 - 10:01 pm

And some of the self proclaimed Einsteins think the Fire Department only should respond to fires. Time for the anti fire tax people to wake up and face fricken reality. I wonder what rock Dave Roberts, Kris Hunt and Dan Boringstein have been hiding under latetly? Don’t hear much from those bozos but like bad apples they are bound to turn up.

The fire department has once again proved they are an “all emergency” services department and deserve to be funded adequately.

Sharon Jun 8, 2013 - 11:55 pm

Totally agree with Freedom Parent…each student graduating should have been provided with bottled water. It was way too hot for them on the field.

Law Understanding Citizen Jun 9, 2013 - 4:27 am

It is against the law to deny water to anyone unless it is provided. This can be a very large problem for the schools if it comes down to lawsuits.

Freedom Teacher Jun 9, 2013 - 7:47 am

I’m a Freedom teacher who was bearing the heat on the field with the students, and our superintendent actually instructed us to have a few bottles on hand for those who needed it. Granted, they went fast, and we could have used a lot more. Personally, I don’t think any amount of water would suppress the heat of yesterday. I later thought, why don’t we have the graduation after dark? There are plenty of lights in the stadium, and it creates a much cooler atmosphere. Maybe next year…

Maureen Baughman Jun 10, 2013 - 12:28 pm

Very well said

JimSimmons42 Jun 9, 2013 - 8:29 am

Can’t predict the weather but the District should have had alternate plans. Since this happened to multiple schools, might have to give them a pass but expect contingency plans for future graduations.

Julie Zapper Jun 9, 2013 - 9:04 am

I am a parent of one of the Freedom High School graduates. Myself & my family were VERY upset about how graduation was handled. I noticed that one of the teachers commented on here about how they had to deal with the heat as well yet failed to mention that the teachers & staff were aloud to have water to drink the whole time. My daughter asked one of the teachers if she could Have some water because she felt like she was going to pass out and The teacher told her if she was asking for water then she didn’t need it.

I don’t know how many of you remember this but last year at Heritage High there were a number of students expelled right before graduation & not able to walk with their class because of a senior prank. The students had left animals out with no water and from what I understand some of the students were charged with cruelty to animals. Why the double standard? It’s not okay to leave animals out with no water However, staff is okay with leaving over 500 students without water in that heat. This was inhumane and I will be pursuing this!!! I still have three students to graduate from freedom high school And I WILL NOT see This happen again!

Still Medium Rare In East County Jun 9, 2013 - 9:50 am

I attended the Heritage graduation. The staff had plenty of water on hand for the students as well as attendees who asked at specific locatins near the entrance. I had one child in the band and one gaduating, and the only complaint I heard was the the band should have been under a tent. You ever try to play a brass instrument that is over a hundred degrees!?! Hah!
But my Senior said everyone in the graduating class seemed to handle the heat well, same from my child in the band, aside from scorched lips from the brass section, they handled it pretty well (though I did have to help one tuba player get the instrument back to the band room).
What was truly impressive was the positive attitude the crowd had, hardly a cross word was heard with mostly really happy and patient people on hand. Unbelievable considering the heat.
The HHS Principal Larry Oshodi had planned well by having CCFPD on hand prior to the ceremony comencing. They did need to add to it as more people were overcome by the heat,but, BPD did a lot to help along with the police explorers. I didn’t hear of any other service calls that went unanswered by CCFPD during the event and they seemed to hande the work load well… So where exactly was the problem ECV?

Jana A. Jun 9, 2013 - 10:46 am

Medium Rare – Con Fire (CCFPD) is not the responding authority for our district. Our district is covered by East Contra Costa Fire Protection District – we have five stations (five engines) that cover 250 square miles. Con Fire was on site because the district requested auto aid- which means ECCFPD didn’t have enough resources to cover this emergency and respond to other calls in the district. Every Con Fire engine and responders on site are not covered by our property tax dollars. Con Fire due to Measure Q not being passed will start shutting fire stations (Pittsburg #87), which means that mutual/or auto aid resources could be limited.

So yes – ECV is right where are those guys over there in CoCo tax association that said it was a scare tactic and stations would never be shut down?

We are now going to be living within our means for the fire district. And that means resources spread thin and longer response times.

Still Medium Rare In East County Jun 9, 2013 - 1:42 pm

Sure… could have (your words). So, did it happen? Did any calls go unanswered due to the heavy volume of use at HHS? BTW, the bit about educating me on the acronyms is silly, you know what I meant. I bet you also point out every grammatical mistake made on the web too. Sheesh. So, outline again to me how calls went unanswered. Which ones, otherwise, this is just whining and griping about not much.

ECV Jun 9, 2013 - 12:41 pm

@ Still Medium Rare,

Wait….what? You wrote; “I didn’t hear of any other service calls that went unanswered by CCFPD during the event and they seemed to hande the work load well… So where exactly was the problem ECV?”

Well unless you are a dispatcher I don’t know how you would know how the department shifted resources to meet the demand. …..or if responses to other emergencies were delayed. As Burk stated, thank goodness there was no other emergency (auto accident, house fire, grass fire, medical aid, etc.) because the fire department was tapped out.

Looks like we got lucky this time. Do you think we should continue to take such risks? Sooner or later the outcome won’t be a positive one.

Now add the the fact that an already understaffed department is operating under a grant which will expire sooner than later. When that happens, guess what? Things get worse. Much worse.

All of this has been covered here and in the media. You should be aware unless you are living under a rock.

With confire suffering similar reductions it is only a matter of time before they are no longer able to provide “free” aid for us.

Still unclear about the issue?

Still Medium Rare In East County Jun 9, 2013 - 1:54 pm

Dispatch logs are public record. One can also listen live via radio (scanners… I do occasionally, have most of my life). Also, one can now download an app with a delay on live transmits of the CCFPD dispatch (I do, have ever since the app came out on the android Play store). Was I listening yesterday? No. But, I did speak to a FFer assisting a girl at HHS who was later transported, and he indicated they had it well under control, and did not feel the community was at risk.
So, unless you can say definitively that a call went unanswered, or even was delayed (proof is required mind you, you could just be another internet kook… as could I for that matter), then again I say to you, “where is the problem?”. Otherwise, this is just so much whining and griping. And for the record, I voted YES on the vote for Brentwood (I don’t really know if it was in fact measure Q, and I’m too lazy to look it up).
BTW… I’m also a retired Military Fire Fighter, so I do care about this, I’ve walked more than a mile in their shoes. I feel we need facts of actual cases of delayed response resulting in further harm… not hyperbole on an issue that so far has not surfaced in the wake of the closings. I have not heard of one life lost as a result of the closings, and I hope to God it never happens. Screaming that the sky is falling and it actually having fallen are two different things. Have a great week!

ECV Jun 9, 2013 - 7:07 pm

@ undercooked,

Defensive much? Wowza!

You marginalized the term Internet kook with that little diatribe about your affliction with scanners, dispatch logs and emergency apps. Your response qualify you as more of a gadfly really.

Further, your experience as a firefighter in the Military is honorable but not germane to this issue. My experience is that it’s Apples and Oranges.

I apologize ahead of time for being harsh. Sometimes reality sucks. If you disagree, take the time and talk to our firefighters or anyone at neighboring confire.

Actually if you really did “talk to firemen” or a fireman then you would know beyond a shadow of a doubt it is not hyperbole.

The facts are in and they completely fly in the face of what you opined.

I’m a bit lazy too, so I am not going to do research or “homework” for you. Obviously you don’t wish to be burdened with such things.

Without adequate staffing it isn’t “if” it is “when” disaster will strike….I think you called it the sky falling. Emergency services (fire, police, EMS) is in the business of intervening with your world when your sky falls….and it does….daily. So don’t ask me for facts, ask them.

Speaking of facts, I originally posted; “some of the self proclaimed Einsteins think the Fire Department only should respond to fires.”

Maybe you can work on that in between second guessing emergency services and listening to your scanner.

Closer to well done after the lightening last night Jun 10, 2013 - 1:14 pm

Ecv your reality isn’t everyones. You seek that what confirms your political beliefs. Good luck with that. It’s been a year now of us doing with less and the sky has not fallen. I’m right… You are wrong… Who cares… I’m wrong… You are right… Who cares still? No one. Fact is, we have so far done fne with less fire resources. Wish it wasn’t true… But it is.
BTW… If it comes to a vote again, I will be voting yes again. It,s worth the 98 bucks a year to keep your types from getting all lathered up. And a few more firefighting resources can’t hurt for that price. But a dire situation it is not. I’m done with this discussion.

FHS '13 Alumni Jun 9, 2013 - 4:16 pm

I was actually graduating yesterday at FHS and that was RIDICULOUS that we couldn’t bring water. I couldn’t get my diploma because I had to leave because I was almost passed out. Maybe it was hotter for us in the back, but A LOT of students were complaining.

And notice how EVERY teacher, the band, the speakers had water, except for the people who the graduation was actually for. We were the ones that had to walk around the school, stand for 30 minutes, sit in the sun for an hour, AND THEN walk allllll the way back to the quad all while wearing heat trappers and without water. It was very harsh.

I hope many will complain about this and that Mr. Faulkner will put an end to his “elegant” graduation circus.

EVCsBrother Jun 9, 2013 - 5:08 pm

EVC and Jana,

Your scare tactics are ridiculous. This could have easily been prevented with water and shade not overpaid public service people. You probably comment on here because you are related to or get money from the public employees entity. Next thing you know those overpaid people helping on off time will turn extra time in. If we all just help each other instead of asking or demanding more money from the overworked less paid public citizens things would fall in place.

With water and shade all those emergency people could have stayed in and finished the movie they were watching. Boy oh boy if we ever get into a real situation like Moore, Ok. we would be in trouble because there are no trained people to help the real professionals. Under our local big headed pros even the Military Retired Fire Fighter is not qualified to help. This union crap is going to backfire.They are risking lives and property by not working with the public. A little water and shade go a long way in the heat. It’s not rocket science.

ECV Jun 9, 2013 - 5:40 pm

@ wannabe “brother”,

Still more mindless crap from you?

You are right, it’s not rocket science and the fact that you don’t grasp the simplistic issue at play here goes straight to your competence level.

Do us all a favor and quit wasting oxygen.

Renee Jun 9, 2013 - 6:31 pm

I hate to tell you but you can still suffer a heat emergency in the shade. Yes water will help but having sat on Freedom’s field as a graduate, I can tell you it is VERY hot and a lot of water would be needed. Probably more then what would be brought in. When I graduated, we were never offered water and were not allowed to take water with us. That needs to change.

Jana A. Jun 9, 2013 - 7:38 pm

For both ECV’s brother and Medium – it’s just not worth debating the matter with either of you. All both of you want to do is rant and that doesn’t interest me.

Medium – as a military brat and married to a former military firefighter, every fact and acronym is important. You should know that.

Closer to well done after the lightening last night Jun 10, 2013 - 1:19 pm

what… ever

Kerri Jun 10, 2013 - 8:09 am

I can’t say I agree with this at all. I also had a child graduating who was instructed in the days before the ceremony that he may bring a water bottle only to be told in homeroom he could not have it on the field. After chugging half the oversized bottle and bringing to his car he was told he could again bring it, but it was too late to go back and get it. His teacher brought two cases of water only to have Admin come take it and divy it up amongst all the isles, leaving THREE water bottles per isle of students. Plenty? I think NOT!
As far as CCFPD on hand prior??? I never saw that and I entered through the back off of Balfour. I noticed the ambulance and fire arrive and line up only after multiple people were assisted.
Bottom line it was too hot. This is my third graduation and thank God my last. While the other two were very hot I had never experienced anything to this degree. Brentwood is consistently hot and the district needs to consider holding the ceremonies at night. It may be hot at night but your not contending with the addition of the sun.
There were a ton of people attending and it was hard to find seating and I arrived an hour early, but 30 minutes in to the ceremony peopl began seeking shade and were leaving, at which point you could sit wherever you wanted.
ON another note, hopefully next year they turn the volume up so the spectators can hear the speeches.

Closer to well done after the lightening last night Jun 10, 2013 - 1:21 pm

They were there… not when I arrived either… but they showed up as the ceremony was close to starting.

md Jun 10, 2013 - 8:52 am

My son graduated on Saturday from Freedom. The kids were told in advance that it they brought water with them that they could not walk. My son took a bottle of water and was told to dispose of it prior to the ceremony.

Press Slams Freedom For Graduation Decision, Omits Heritage | East County Today Jun 13, 2013 - 3:32 pm

[…] fact, I do not believe the paper event covered this major incident other than this mention. Here is my coverage from earlier in the week while the Contra Costa Times also wrote about […]

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