Local News

Firefighters brave triple-digit heat

Posted July 21, 2010 10:45 p.m. EDT
Updated July 22, 2010 5:16 a.m. EDT

— Temperatures could climb to 100 degrees Thursday and Friday with high humidity making it feel as if it were at least 110 degrees.

For firefighters, triple-digit temperatures like these can add another challenge to the job.

“This is the time we look out for our own first because if we can't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of anybody else,” Wake County EMS Director Dr. Brent Myers said.

“It's more dangerous than normal,” Battalion Chief Keith Tessinear said of working in the heat.

The gear that firefighters wear tends to trap body heat, making it harder to cool down.

“We focus on hydration,” Tessinear said. “We also stress a more long-term holistic approach, which is how important it is to be physically fit year-round so that your body can take the demands of the heat."

Tessinear said in hot weather, firefighters limit the time they have on full gear and rotate firefighting roles more rapidly.

Firefighters also have First Responders' personnel as medical back-up. The First Responders van comes equipped with heat-fighting aids.

“There's cooling misting fans. We have specialized chairs in there that circulate ice water through them so we can cool people off during those events,” Myers said.

Firefighters are also required to have their vital signs checked while battling blazes in hot weather.