With temperatures in the triple digits first responders are faced with an additional life-threatening risk.
Lt. Mario Sanchez, McAllen Fire Department, “It gets very hot. Within five minutes you’re already sweating with that gear.”
Fire fighting in itself is an extremely difficult job. These men and women wear several layers of gear to protect themselves from the flames. Adding heavy weight and raising their core temperatures.
Deputy Fire Chief Juan Gloria says, “It’s hot weather, we have a little bit of a breeze, so it makes it a little bit more difficult for firefighters to work with their heavy gear and equipment.
To minimize the risk of heat exhaustion, hydration is key.
Lt. Sanchez, “We have to have a rehab area, make sure we have enough water for our personnel. You have to rely on your resources to help us in these types of conditions or fires.”
Frequent breaks are also paramount in making sure firefighters have time to cool their bodies down.
“We all take a break within 15 minutes, 20 minutes. Or it can be less, depends on the physical condition of the firefighter.” Says Lt. Sanchez.
But at the end of the day it is the community that keeps our local heroes going strong.
Lt. Sanchez adds, “Serving the community. You get to love the job, and the satisfaction of coming in and helping out anybody in need.”