1. #1
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    Default Training In The Heat

    As I am rady to head out for weekly training and see that the temp is still a toasty 94 degrees.... I decided this would be an interesting topic in the forums.

    Does your department have any formal or informal guidelines for cancelling or modifying training in the heat? If so, who makes the call? Does this occur in your area frequently, often, occasionally or rarely? Is EMS asked to standby in extreme heat situations?

    As for us, training is rarely cancelled due to the heat. basically our department's philosophy is that we all need to train under the conditions were are expected to work. In extreme situations they will modify the length of training, or the length of specific tasks. they will also on occasion relax the PPE requirements if safety is not compromised. The parish EMS unit assigned to our station is required to attend all of our trainings as part of the mutual aid agreement. Only a chief officer can make the call on cancellations or modifications.

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    Well, we live pretty high in the mountains, and our training is done largely in the evening, so heat is not that big of a problem for us.

    However, if the issue does arise, the instructor and the safety officer (instructor's assistant), both have the authority to modify the lesson or activity as needed. We have in the past changed subjects at the last meeting due to weather (usually extreme cold in the winter).
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    In my opinion you need to train as you play. Meaning, just friggin get out there and get it done. Hydration is key.

    Ask the Phoenix, Tucson or Las Vegas fire fighters about heat. Recruit training for those Dept.'s can start in July and August and last 4 to 6 months (in Tucson). It will be 110F in full PPE w/ shields down for two or three months until it "cools" down to the 90's. Obviously, some days are hotter and some are cooler, but rarely does it dip below 100 until late Sept. - mid-Oct.

    As you go out to ponder 94F, take a look at these average temps: http://www.wunderground.com/US/AZ/Phoenix.html

    Last year Phoenix and Tucson had record breaking years. Something like 60 or 70 strait days of 100+ temps.

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    Be careful 94 may not sound to hot to some the nice dry 90% humidity will work on you. There have been FFs die in full PPE, drink alot of liquids and be careful.
    Stay Safe ~ The Dragon Still Bites!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5pts384
    Be careful 94 may not sound to hot to some the nice dry 90% humidity will work on you. There have been FFs die in full PPE, drink alot of liquids and be careful.
    No doubt, and I'm not trying to be a naysayer. I just think we can "safe" our way out of a job. Kinda off topic, but we need to get "Old School" as a fire service and do our friggin jobs.

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    You don't train as you play.

    You might drill as you play; you train in an environment that is sufficiently comfortable students are paying attention to you instead of trying to meet their physiological needs.

    A drill is a reinforcement of skills that the crew should already know the basics of, even if the fine points might need some honing.

    We have occassionally altered drill plans due to weather. Sometimes not -- we used to have an extrication drill at the end of June to coincide with the wrapping up of one of the local EMT classes so we didn't have leeway to reschedule it due to their testing schedule. Excerbating it was the slow speed of the newbies, on a hot day you could be baking in the bunker gear.

    But just take care of the basics -- shade, fluids, smoke ejector = fan, people not actually operating in the hot zone at least drop the coat, etc.

    It is a long tradition that there isn't much "hands on" training being done at regional or State level in Connecticut during July & August...certainly nothing intense. The June Fire School at the end of June wraps up training for the summer.

    Indeed, I just looked at State's calendar -- the three "hands on" classes for those two months are a Pump Operator, Rope Rescue, and Rescue Tech Core (Basic size-up + basic Ropes). The two Rescue classes don't require bunkers, and I can't see requiring the coat for the Pump Operator (helmet sure).

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    Default How about common sense ?

    You modify your response, tactics and strategy depending on the weather. Why wouldn't you do so for training?
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    By SOP, but paraphrasing for brevity

    Training is adjusted (moved indoors, rescheduled) when:
    -Heat index is above 90
    -Wind chill is below 10
    Exceptions are made for both summer/winter for water rescue training

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    we train no matter the weather. down here, sometimes it can mean 100 degrees out with 99% humidity. College Station isnt so bad though when we train there. around 110 degrees but only 30-50% humidity. ( usually )


    just have to remember to hydrate!!!!!!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    You modify your response, tactics and strategy depending on the weather. Why wouldn't you do so for training?

    I'm not sure that I understand what you are trying to say. Care to elaborate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnyv
    By SOP, but paraphrasing for brevity

    Training is adjusted (moved indoors, rescheduled) when:
    -Heat index is above 90
    -Wind chill is below 10
    Exceptions are made for both summer/winter for water rescue training

    Maybe this works for your department... However, Dept.'s in the Sunbelt wouldn't train/drill/respond (insert another word for doing one's job here) if this was the case.

    For example its 10pm in Phoenix right now and its 90F w/ 12% humidity = 87F Heat Index.

    This afternoon it was 103F w/ 10% humidity = 97.5F Heat index... Which is a little warm for a May Day (avg. is 97F which is still 92F). During July/August temps of 108F w/ 40-60% humidity are not rare. That would be a Heat index of 130 - 171F. You can bet the guys still take full PPE precautions and operate at a high level.

    This may be apples and oranges. But we are in the business of operating in adverse conditions. Maybe I'm just a little hoo-ra for working hard in FUBAR situations... for that I make no apologies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rugby10
    Maybe this works for your department... However, Dept.'s in the Sunbelt wouldn't train/drill/respond (insert another word for doing one's job here) if this was the case.
    I quoted my dept's policy, not my personal feeling on the subject. I did plenty of ARFF training during summers in the Carolinas and even 29 Palms. However, since we are in Michigan, the policy is not that restrictive. It probably affects us 10 times a year total. It's not hard to adjust the training schedule around outdoor work with so many EMS refreshers that can be done indoors.

    Also, keep in mind that we are supposed to be ready for calls. Getting worn out on training does noone any good if they can't respond.

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    I think something we have to take into consideration, is that the majority of us grew up in the area we work/volly and have adjusted to that particular areas climate. Although I doubt any of us truly adapt to that climate, but are better conditioned to deal with it. I would suspect a fellow from FLA. or Arizona would have a real hard time going up to say Montana, North Dakota in Jan. same if you reversed the states and they went in July.

    And I would rather have the guys train in cooler temps and really learn what is being taught then, be roasted to death and not be giving full attention to the task at hand. Training and real life incidents are 2 differnt things. In training you do not have that adrenalin to push you when you are roasted. I feel you need to drill in the climate you are going to be in to get the feel for what you can and can't do in adverse conditions, but it should be monitored very closely on extrem days.

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    Would fall under Safety Officers discretion. If they say No, we do something else.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Tomorrow we have our Mock Disaster Drill all day and the forcasted temp is 83. It has been just as hot the past couple of years and everyone stays very hyrdrated and we have had only one situation where someone was lightheaded due to dehydration.
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    I work in an area that has a temperature range that has gone from -26 to 107 with humidity. We take it easy when it gets too hot and humid. I cannot think of a good reason to drill in bunker gear when it is so hot. We train while on duty. Dosent make a lot of sense to have your engine company worn out from training and then have to fight a fire in hot muggy weather. It takes us a while to get acclimated to super hot weather. If that dosent meet your standards thats fine. We manage to put fires out quite well anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    I work in an area that has a temperature range that has gone from -26 to 107 with humidity.
    Please... So do a lot of places; does that change anything?
    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    We take it easy when it gets too hot and humid.
    Sounds good... Maybe you should write a book on how to take it easy when the work gets hard.

    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    I cannot think of a good reason to drill in bunker gear when it is so hot. We train while on duty. Doesnít make a lot of sense to have your engine company worn out from training and then have to fight a fire in hot muggy weather.
    Does it make a lot of sense to have to fight more than one fire per shift? Nope. But that is the reality.

    Hey Mikey, I gotta tell ya that this quote; "to drill in bunker gear when it is so hot"...sounds really weak. It sounds like your soft. What happens if a company gets toned out for two or more fires in a shift? Do they just give up because they have already worked a "worker"?

    It takes us a while to get acclimated to super hot weather. If that doesnít meet your standards thatís fine. We manage to put fires out quite well anyway.
    My standards are really simple; "Do your friggin job period." Rule two: Don't be a p****. If rules one or two are too difficult youíre in the wrong line of work. Go back to that accountant position.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rugby10
    My standards are really simple; "Do your friggin job period." Rule two: Don't be a p****. If rules one or two are too difficult youíre in the wrong line of work. Go back to that accountant position.
    Mikey isn't an accountant... He's a FF/medic with a Metro Chicagao FD. I know about Mikey, but you, with an entire 7 posts to your credit are an unknown.

    Not all drills require you wear the entire PPE ensemble.

    I know of one "training oficer" who had the entire group standing outside 95 degree HHH weather (hazy, hot humid) in full ppe while conducting TIC drills in an acquired structure. He would not let the firefighters waiting their turn in the evolution to "dress down"... funny thing was, he was in a short sleeve shirt (part of the standard class b uniform) and spent most of the drill sitting in the car with the A/C on full blast.

    Three of the firefighters had heat exhaustion and ended up in the ER for evaluation... and for what? To prove a point?

    If you are doing live fire training.. of course, full ppe is a must. Otherwise, look out for your personnel... everyone goes home!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Ouch. I have been smacked down by a real American hero.
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    I didn't look up the thread but we had quite a discussion about the use of bunker gear in hot humid weather and the training officer was "hammered" hard about the training. Gonzo is right you can get too hot and end up in the ER or 6 ft under.
    Stay Safe ~ The Dragon Still Bites!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
    I know of one "training oficer" who had the entire group standing outside 95 degree HHH weather (hazy, hot humid) in full ppe while conducting TIC drills in an acquired structure. He would not let the firefighters waiting their turn in the evolution to "dress down"... funny thing was, he was in a short sleeve shirt (part of the standard class b uniform) and spent most of the drill sitting in the car with the A/C on full blast.

    Three of the firefighters had heat exhaustion and ended up in the ER for evaluation... and for what? To prove a point?

    If you are doing live fire training.. of course, full ppe is a must. Otherwise, look out for your personnel... everyone goes home!
    We can look to the military for some of our training policies. Ask a vet sometime, they will tell you of drill sergeants who run backwards, in circles around their group who is running down the street at the time while calling cadence. Sometimes the instructor will have to stand to the side and instruct while the young'uns are playing such as operating a nozzle, etc. but in general, he should be out there doing what they are doing if possible. Not only does it show that it can be done the right way but it also makes the instructor acutely aware of the condition of the trainees so he won't push them over the edge. But most importantly in my mind it gives them the idea that the old timer is out there "doing it" and he doesn't seem perturbed by the heat or getting tired so why should we? Think Lt. Col. Kilgore from Apocalypse Now or everyone's favorite R. Lee Ermey

    Besides I like doing it, because it's good for me too

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    Training in hgh heat/humidity, Id say I know something about that . My FD doesnt have a "policy" in regards to when to train and when not. We tried to address it by SOP but the Chief shot it down. Maybe with the next Chief.

    Sooo, it falls to the COs to "protect" the crews. When it gets hot (90+) we try to drill either in the morning or evening. We run the evolution once or twice then head back to the A/C. We limit PPE when safe to do so. If its a PPE drill, we have the crews dress right before thier evolution. And hydrate, hydrate and then hydrate.

    I think our local academy has a policy. We did a burn out there last August. Crews were required to hydrate before the evolution and were kept in the shade. Only thoese involved witht that evolution got dressed, and then only right before they started. The evolution was run once, then out of the gear, back to the shade and more Gatorade. The cool thing was the instructors were in PPE as well, so they could get a "read" on what was happening with the crews.

    Oh, and as far as EMS standing by. Here we are EMS, so I guess the answer would be "yes".
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    Ok, let's examine the posting of the latest 2/20 whose calling others "soft" and asks if "they give up"...

    For example its 10pm in Phoenix right now and its 90F w/ 12% humidity = 87F Heat Index.

    So, we can assume he's in Phoenix. Maybe one of the cities nearby.

    Oh, and another quote from Rugby:
    This may be apples and oranges. But we are in the business of operating in adverse conditions. Maybe I'm just a little hoo-ra for working hard in FUBAR situations... for that I make no apologies.

    Either case, let's read the Phoenix Fire Department Heat Stress Management SOP:

    http://phoenix.gov/FIRE/20619.html

    Here's a summary of some of the bullet points of the PFD:
    Above a 105F Heat Index,
    -- Limit cardiovascular exercise to 30 minutes or less
    -- Companies should be relieved and sent to rehab after 2 air bottles
    -- Company officer to take the heat into account and request additional resources as needed to safely complete a task
    -- First Company in, First Company out
    -- Additional company and Rehab on 2&1 and 1st Alarm runs;

    Hmmm,

    So either Rugby is a Phoenix Firefighter who needs to spend less time questioning the abilities of an Illinois firefighter and more time reading and understanding his department's SOPs...

    Or he needs to go over and talk to Brunancini before he retires next month and explain to him why Phoenix shouldn't have to add additional companies, or curtail exercise, or implement nearly-mandatory rehab on hot heat index days 'cause after all, that's the conditions they face everyday.

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    Like almost always, I am with Mikey.

    As negotiated through our local, we are not required to perform uneccessary tasks in temperatures over 90 or under 40.

    Just for the Rugby guy, it is not about being a pussy. It is about not causing uneccessary physical exertion or freezing your balls off so that you are able to perform safely through out your entire shift.
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    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Excellent discussion - Just what I was hoping for.

    Training in the heat requires walking a fine line, especially if you are a paid department where the companies are in-service and may need to respond top a working incident. As a primarily volunteer department, we do our training in the evenings. On occasion, the on-duty crew will train during the day, but that occurs rarely. Generally even during the dog days of summer, the temps have dropped to the low 90's or high 80's by the time we start, though humidity can still be in the 90% plus range. I can only recall 2 trainings that were cancelled (we still trained, but it was either moved indoors or evolution was changed to a less phsycal activity) due to heat in the almost 4 years I have lived down here, but there have been several that have been modified slightly to reduce heat stress. I can remeber one controlled burn, which turned out to be more work than plannned, that occured while I was in VT where we had several firefighters treated on the scene and 2 transported for heat related injuries.

    If a physical drill is planned and the temps are up there, we will often keep a 5 man crew aside and give them non-physical tasks so that they can handle a run (most of our calls can be handled by a single, experienced company) fresh. As most of our guys are EMS trained, they are fairly famailar with the s/s of heat related issues, and the culture here encourages them to let those running the drill know early if they are having issues.

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