How firefighters beat the heat


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The heat makes it hard for everyone to get through the day but for those who have to work outside, the heat can be particularly dangerous.

Even those charged with keeping us safe, like firefighters, are now more at risk.

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It’s hot outside but for firefighters, it’s just as bad inside their heavy gear.

Lexington Fire Department Major Jordan Saas says with high temperatures and dangerous heat indeces, it can get harder for firefighters to do their jobs.

“Not only is it hot inside the gear, but then you’re going inside a very hot environment where the fire is located and when you come out it’s hard for your body to come down from that,” Saas says.

Firefighters have a piece of clothing to cover them from head to toe in order to keep hot water, embers or fire from reaching any part of the body.

The self-contained breathing apparatus that they carry is to help them inhale dry air but that dehydrates them more.

That gear keeps the heat outside but inside as well.

“It’s designed to be that way. It’s designed to be thermal insulating to keep the heat from the fire out, but the downside is it keeps your body heat in as well,” Saas says.

There are a lot of steps firefighters take to protect themselves: They are supposed to stay hydrated up to three days before their shift and continue to hydrate during the shift, they make sure to have coolers with electrolytes to re-hydrate them when needed and they try to limit their time outside during the peak heating hours of the day.

“We rotate crews frequently on any extended operation. So if it’s a structure fire like we had the other night, several teams of crews would rotate in and rotate out,” Saas says.