Heat, pepper spray top medical concerns for GOP convention
TAMPA — When Ryan Pedigo thinks about the more than 50,000 delegates, protesters, journalists and others expected here in August for the Republican National Convention, one thing comes to mind.
"With 93-degree average temperatures, 90 percent-plus humidity and a heat index of 120 to 130 degrees, the biggest concern is with heat-related illnesses and injuries," said Pedigo, director of public health preparedness for the Hillsborough County Health Department.
Pedigo and representatives from federal, state and local governments, law enforcement agencies and local hospitals have been working for more than a year on a plan to handle various medical-related scenarios that might come up during the convention, Aug. 27-30.
They're figuring out, among other things, what medical assistance might be needed inside the convention perimeter, including treatment for heat exhaustion or exposure to pepper spray, who will provide that care and which hospitals to send patients to, if needed.