Local firefighters trying to cope with extreme heat

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The job of a firefighter is a tough one and recent hot temperatures are causing extra challenges while doing the job. WNCT spoke with some local firefighters Thursday on how they deal with the heat while doing their jobs.

“It’s extremely difficult,” said Nick Taylor of the No. 7 Township Fire and Rescue in Craven County. “You’re hot and sweaty before you put your turnout gear on. Your turnout gear adds about 60 pounds to you. And it keeps heat inside your body. It doesn’t breathe quite as well as your normal street clothes would,obviously. It’s designed to keep heat out. But on the flip side of that, it also keeps heat in and can cause a lot of concerns.”

And to meet the demands of fighting a fire on a sweltering day, it’s common practice for crews to ask for more manpower. “It is a challenge and we try to accommodate that by asking for mutual aid to come in for manpower,” says Tommy Brady from the Farmville Fire Department. “Just to help offset, to give our guys a little bit of a break.”

And those breaks are mandatory. Fire crews call it rehab, a chance to not only cool down but to be checked out to make sure they’re okay. Taylor says, “Once those firefighters finish an evolution they go to rehab, they’re checked out. They get a little cooled off, a little hydration. And if they’re cleared and we need additional personnel, they can go back to staging and participate in another firefighting evolution. We try to limit it, especially on a day like today, to one evolution then rehab. And, at the most, a second evolution.”

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