Freedom Festival Organizers battle extreme temperatures - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Freedom Festival Organizers battle extreme temperatures


From the near 100 degree heat indices mid-morning during the Coralville Fourth of July parade.

"This is definitely the hottest I've ever been to," said Deb Pratt of Oxford.

To temperatures hitting triple digits in the afternoon at Cedar Rapid's Freedom Festival.

Many in Eastern Iowa didn't let the extreme temperatures deter their holiday plans.

"The weather's been hot, but we need to be outside and enjoying the weather when we can," said Ara Ispentchian of Cedar Rapids.

Freedom Festival organizers took precautions Wednesday,setting up misting stations and extra tents to keep people cool and bringing in paramedics on standby should they be needed.

"We're being really careful.  We're all hydrating ourselves, and we're watching people to make sure they are as well.  We really do need people to take care of themselves and make sure they are hydrating themselves," said Robyn Rieckhoff, executive director of the Freedom Festival.

Health professionals advise people to drink plenty of fluids, stay away from caffeine and alcohol, and allow time to cool down in the shade.

And should problematic symptoms arise like nausea or leg cramps, people need to get out of the hot sun.

They just need to be very very careful.  If they're feeling ill, they need to find shade, sit down, or go home," said Dianna Gilchrist, a paramedic with Area Ambulance.

With swarms of people flocking to celebrate Independence Day outdoors, area hospitals like St. Lukes and Mercy in Cedar Rapids saw increased activity in regards to heat-related illnesses.

Yet in spite of it all, many ventured out into the heat to enjoy the holiday and did so safely.

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