How firefighters are beating the extreme heat

First responders and extreme heat

NORTHPORT, Ala. (WBRC) - If you think it’s hot outside, just ask a first responder.

The extreme heat doesn’t stop firefighters from doing their jobs. The heavy equipment they wear can increase their body temperatures by several degrees.

"That’s the price you have to pay,” Captain Roger Potter with Northport Fire Rescue said.

Firefighters take precautions like taking breaks when responding to calls. They also set up rehab tents to keep themselves cool. Some departments also have cooling jackets they can put on after fighting fires.

"If he’s showing signs of heat exhaustion or something like that, it’s a cool jacket where it runs cool water through piping that you actually wear on your body,” Potter said.

Captain Potter says his firefighters also drink plenty of fluids days before their shifts to help them prepare for the job. They also do physical training drills to help them deal with the heat stresses of firefighting.

"Myself, and I know a lot of other guys, we try and do a lot of fluid intake, a lot of bananas, fruit and stuff like that before we come to work,” Potter said.

Potter says firefighter safety is always top priority. He’s always keeping a close eye on his men and women when the weather affects their work.

"There’s people working every day to try and figure out how to make our safety equipment cooler…but right now it does get warm in there and all you can do is re-hydrate your body and take breaks,” Potter said.

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