Extreme temperatures put firefighters at risk

POSTED: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 3:53pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

COLLEGE STATION -- When emergencies happen, firefighters are usually the first to respond. Time and time again they risk their lives, to save others. But in this record-breaking summer heat, firefighters are taking more risks than usual.

No matter what time of the year it is, Lt. Clint Anderson knows his job is dangerous. But in this heat and drought the risk only goes up.

"We always take the heat very serious. It's something that can sneak up and get us," said Anderson.

Firefighters are trained to deal with the heat but in just a matter of minutes, things can still go seriously wrong.

"They can go down pretty quick. We try to encourage them to drink plenty of fluids, eat light, dress light, and not over exert themselves in the afternoon," said Captain Joe Warren.

But when you're fighting fires, dressing light isn't an option.

The gear firefighters wear can weigh anywhere up to 45 pounds and when you're outside fighting a fire, inside the uniform, can get anywhere up to 110 degrees plus.

"This gear is designed to keep the elements off of you but on the turn side it also keeps the elements from the inside going out so you're going to sweat, retain heat inside and you're not going to be able to evaporate the sweat," said Anderson.

Which can cause problems.

"They have to take care of themselves first. If they don't then there not any help to the citizens out there," said Warren.

These firefighters are watching out for one another as the temperatures stay high, and the threat of wildfires and drought continue, so no man goes down from the heat.


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