Firefighters work to stay safe in hot summer weather - KCTV5

Firefighters work to stay safe in hot summer weather

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When it's hot out, we typically dress in light clothes, but what if you had to put on 70 pounds of additional gear? That's what firefighters have to do even during extreme heat.

"Every piece they have, we can’t recommend them taking off anything before they go into the fire due to the heat," says Jeremy Duke, EMS Assistant Division Chief for the Kansas City Fire Department.

Some of that equipment helps them breathe, others prevent burns and cuts, and others even help navigate them through buildings.

During the summer months, firefighters prepare for work a day in advance. "Before their shift, we really want them to keep hydrated and then try to lessen the caffeine and eat well," says Asst. Chief Duke.

At scenes, they have one ambulance strictly dedicated to firefighters. They’re monitored closely and if they have to go inside a burning structure then they’re rotated every 15 minutes.

"We’re going to get extreme heat and that’s 90 to 100-something degrees with the heat index," said James Garrett, Public Information Officer for the Kansas City Fire Department. "It can be up there. In the 100-teens sometimes."

Fire officials say it’s common to see firefighters suffer from heat cramps or heat exhaustion during the summer months.

Garrett said they’re also mindful when they go home because symptoms can sometimes be delayed. "If you’re getting signs of headaches or anything like that, go inside the house and get out of the atmosphere," he said.

With hydration being key, firefighters say they try to consume one quart of water per hour when working.

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