Extreme heat brings new dangers for firefighters

By Tori Mason
WIBW – July 18, 2017

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Firefighters run toward danger every day, but in Mid-July, the flames aren’t the only factor.

“Whether it’s the heat or the cold, they both have a hard wear and tear on you,” said TFD Battalion Chief Daniel Macke.

Chief Macke and his crew spent one of the hottest days of the year battling a garage fire in Topeka.

“The humidity is bad right now, but we deal with it and move on,” said Macke.

When the heat is on to save someone’s life, the heat around them often comes second.

“Sometimes we have to tell them ‘No. You’ve hit your limit. Go take a break. Somebody else will do your job for a minute and we’ll get you back in the fight. its important to take care of yourself because we want you to go home safe.'” said Chief of EMS Richard Sigle.

Chief Sigle looks out for the people who look out for us. He says it goes beyond staying hydrated.

“We tell them to acclimate to the heat. Before the heat comes, start spending some time outside. Make sure that their bodies are acclimated to the warmer environments, explained Sigle.

Sigle says fire technology hasn’t evolved to the point where gear is lightweight enough to breathe, but still protective enough to do the job.

“These men and women on the fire department are hard workers and they’re going to go at it full strength. We’ll bring extra companies to the scene if we know it’s going to be long term,” he explained.

It’s a discomfort firefighters are aware of when they sign up, and power through with pride.

“It’s part of learning the trade and the craft. We pass it on from generation to generation and when the new guys come through we teach them all the steps to get themselves safe,” said Sigle.

USFA firefighter statistics show that half of all firefighter deaths every year are due to cardiac and stroke related events.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
http://www.ksffa.com
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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