Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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Hot Weather And High Humidity Create Difficult Situations For Firefighters

Two Van Buren firefighters required IV administration by EMS personnel after fighting fires Wednesday.

Piney Volunteer Fire Department PIO Tiwanna Bricker said many people don’t know just how much hot and humid weather can hinder their work, especially when combined with the weight of their gear. She estimates the turnout gear weighs about 25 pounds and the air packs weigh up to 30 pounds.

“It’s always hot in that fire gear it’s designed to keep the heat out and the water out, which means it holds the heat and the humidity in, and when the ambient temps are really hot it just makes it that much worse,” Bricker said. “There’s no way for the sweat to cool your body which is what it’s designed to do. And it really hampers firefighting.”

Bricker said the average firefighter will be active on the scene for about 15 to 30 minutes depending on their level of physical health before they need to rehab. Rehabbing is when firefighters rest and work to rehydrate.

Bricker said her fire department has a person on the scene ready to help rehab firefighters during events. She said they come prepared with cold water, Gatorade, and Liquid IV packets to help firefighters get hydrated.

“Most of us are starting to take physical health a lot more seriously,” Bricker said. “Trying to exercise, and get in the best physical health our bodies can be in.”