Mississippi firefighters beat the heat - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi firefighters beat the heat

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Despite the threat of severe storms, a large portion of the state remains under a heat advisory.   When the temperatures rise mixed with the humidity, Firefighters can get overheated fast. 

It only takes seconds for firefighters to heat up while wearing a helmet and jacket that weighs more than 30 pounds. That is why they are constantly finding new ways to beat the heat.

 It is a dangerous, hot job that can not only be difficult, but deadly.

“Your fire temp can range anywhere from three to 900 degrees,"said Firefighter Chad Oswell.

Oswell, a Byram firefighter, knows all too well about the dangers of Battling blazes. He has been doing it for more than a decade and admits it never gets easy.

“It feels like you are melting on the inside and this gear is an added 50 to 75 pounds ,” added Oswell.

Knowing that overheating is easy in this line of work, his main focus is to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and Gatorade to refuel..

“You have to hydrate the day before," explained Oswell. "It is not just show up at the station and start drinking water, you need to hydrate all the time.” 

Cleotha Sanders with the Jackson Fire Department couldn't agree more. He said his team must stop, remove all of their gear and sit quietly by a fan or in a cool place in these conditions. 

“That is getting him out of the element to a shaded area or letting him rest in one of our AMR units," said Sanders. "AMR is always there to assist us to take vital signs and provide a basic assessment to our firefighters during these times.” 

Thanks to a matching grant, Hinds County purchased an air rehab unit. The $400,000 unit is equipped with awnings, super-sized fans, a mini refrigerator with cool drinks and a spot for firefighters to catch their breath.

“We don't want to lose any of our firefighters,” said Tim Everett, Assistant Chief of the Byram Fire Department .

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