First responders discuss staying cool while in gear

First responders and staying cool in the heat

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The hot temperatures are miserable for the everyday person, but imagine what it must be like for firefighters who wear several pounds of gear.

“It’s miserable. You lose a substantial amount of fluids,” said Captain Ryan Farrell, Vestavia Hills Fire Department.

(Source: WBRC)

That’s what first responders deal with when they have to fight a fire in the hot humid conditions that Alabama is seeing right now.

“We’re going to keep a constant rotation. Having them take their gear off. Drink water. Monitor their vital signs and we’ll send them back in every 15 minutes or so,” said Farrell.

He also adds that preparation for crews begin long before they ever go on the call. It includes frequent hydration beforehand and they even adjust their routines.

“Our folks got their workout in first thing this morning when they came to work. Anything that needs to be done outside of the station, as far as maintenance, will get done early in the morning,” said Farrell.

However, even with proper precautions, the high temperatures can still complicate things.

It was Sunday that a Helena Firefighter had to be treated for minor heat exhaustion while working a house fire.

Over in Homewood, they also follow similar procedures, to hopefully stop a problem before one starts.

“We typically will make sure that we start to hydrate the morning we come into shift,” said Lt. Mark Shannon, Homewood Fire Department. “Even though we may not be hot, we may not be thirsty yet, we try to force ourselves to drink water, so we can stay hydrated.”

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