Firefighters need extra help to cool down in hot temperatures

News 12 @ 11 o'clock/ Sunday, July 13, 2014

HEPHZIBAH, Ga (WRDW) -- Crews responded to a fire on Hephzibah McBean Road around 7:30 Sunday evening. The fire completely destroyed the house, which neighbors say was abandoned. Nobody was hurt, but situations like these can be dangerous for the men and women fighting fires like these.

Jose Maldinado pulled up on Hephzibah McBean Road and saw firefighters working to put out a large fire. The main thing he noticed was the heat. "Even standing where we are we could feel the heat coming off the house," he said.

The heat from the flames, their gear, and the high temperatures outside can make it even more dangerous. "When we wrap these guys up in their turn out gear its like wrapping up a baked potato in foil and sticking it in the oven," Columbia County Battalion Chief Dino Cesarini said.

He knows what it's like to fight fires in this weather. "The normal body temperature is 98.6 when you're getting around 99 to 100 degrees you know something is wrong," Cesarini said.

They're inside one thousand degree temperatures wearing about eighty pounds of gear, so when they walk out of a burning building taking off their jackets isn't enough.

That's why Chief Chad Hylar with the Belvedere Fire Department makes sure the first thing they do, is get some relief. "We take their vital signs heart rate blood pressure make sure they're dressed down and cool and hydrated off," Hylar said.

Rehab stations are top priority in heat like this. Water, fans, and cold towels are as necessary as air tanks in this weather. "We definitely want to make sure we get them cooled off before we have to put them in that environment again," Hylar said.

Fighting fires in hot temperatures means calling out more trucks for support. It takes longer for the body to cool down in the extreme heat and they need more man power to put out the flames.

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