Glendale, Ariz. –– Approximately 175 firefighters will participate in a two-hour long refresher course over the next several weeks during the department’s regularly scheduled weekly medical training known as “EMS Wednesdays” that will cover things like bee stings and anaphylactic shock.
The Glendale Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services Division is conducting the training, which will include up-to-date information, review of protocols and lifesaving drug dosages, an examination of recent bee calls, and an opportunity for firefighters to partake in a realistic anaphylactic shock scenario that includes a life-size mannequin.
Glendale responds to dozens bee related calls every year, including one call this year to the Mayor's house.
On April 24, 2016, City of Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers was doing yard work when bees swarmed him. He ran for safety inside his garage while the bees pursued and continued stinging him. Inside the house, Mayor Weiers' wife, Sandy, extracted more than 20 stingers.
"I was simply out mowing our yard, and they were on me so suddenly. I didn't know I could still run that fast, and some of them were still on me when I got into the house. Now I know what a human pin cushion feels like," Mayor Weiers said. "But on a serious note, I hope that folks will take the time to learn what to do and what not do when you encounter a swarm. Our Glendale Fire Department has an outstanding Environmental Safety message that everyone should become familiar with because as the weather begins to heat up, the bees become more active. It's a good idea to be prepared to protect yourself as well as your family."
Mayor Weiers was very grateful to the Glendale Fire Department for responding. Due to some factors, the hive was not addressed by the fire department. The neighboring property owner was contacted by Mayor Weiers to notify her of the incident.
Following these safety tips may prevent a trip to the hospital or calling 911:
• Keep pets and children indoors when using weed eaters, hedge clippers, lawn mowers, chain saws, etc. Bee attacks frequently happen when a person is mowing the lawn or pruning shrubs and inadvertently strikes a nest.
• If you encounter a swarm, run as quickly as you can in a straight line away from the bees. Get indoors as soon as possible. If you aren’t near a building, get inside the nearest car or shed. Close the doors and windows to keep the bees from following you.
• Because bees target the head and eyes, cover your head as much as you can without slowing your escape.
• Avoid excessive motion when near a colony. Bees are much more likely to respond to an object on the move.
• Don’t jump into a pool or other body of water to avoid the bees. They can and will wait for you to surface, and will sting you as soon as you do. You can’t hold your breath long enough to wait them out, trust me.
• If someone else is being stung by bees and cannot run away, cover them with anything you can find. Do what you can to quickly cover any exposed skin or susceptible areas of their body, and then run for help as fast as you can.
• Once you are in a safe place, use a blunt object to scrape any stingers out of your skin.
• If you were stung just once or a few times, treat the stings as you would regular bee stings and carefully monitor yourself for any unusual reactions. Wash the affected sites with soap and water to avoid infections. Use ice packs to reduce swelling and pain. Of course, if you are allergic to bee venom, seek medical attention immediately.
• If you suffered multiple stings, seek medical attention immediately.