When the Heat is on...We Need to be On!

Welcome back to the jumpseat.  I hope that everyone had a wonderful Memorial day weekend and took some time to say “Thank You” to the men and women of our armed forces. With Memorial Day weekend come and gone it looks like summertime is in full affect around the country.  Here in my home state of West Virginia the temps are hitting the upper 90’s already.  This is concerning to us all due to the acclimation of firefighters to the recent heat wave.  We all need to adjust our thinking to prepare for our next response.  Let’s take a look at “when the heat is on....we need to be on.”

Now that the we are approaching the dog days of summer I would like to send out a couple of reminders about safety while fighting fires in elevated temperatures.  First is to hydrate before the bell rings.  We should be drinking enough fluids to keep us topped off and ready at a moment’s notice.  A average size firefighter should be consuming approximately 120 ounces of fluids a day from food and drink. You should avoid energy drinks, high caffeine drinks, and use some sort of sport drink to use while fighting a fire to replace potassium and sodium. We never really know when our next run will be so we need to be drinking plenty of water throughout the day.  If we wait to hydrate till on the fire you are already behind the game.

Second, we need to take time to acclimate to the heat in our turnout gear.  Start by putting on your pants , then coat, then finally your full ensemble. This will give your body a chance to get used to the heat with the added stress of your gear. Remember that when acclimating to keep it easy and simple until you get comfortable with the added stress.

Third, we need to remember to take extra time in rehab before returning to work. By taking the time to rehydrate and give your body the chance to cool you will reduce the amount of stress placed on you by the heat.

Please everyone take time to better prepare for your next run in the heat.  Just remember that when the heat is on.....you need to be ready!

Thanks for the visit to the jumpseat.