Extreme heat adds danger to the job of a first responder
Kanawha County, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) —
When we step outside it feels like a heat wave, but when firefighters are face to face with a fire in their protective gear, the heat is intensified and can be dangerous.
Firefighters responded to a fully involved, two story house fire on Wednesday. The home, firefighters believe was vacant at the time is on Rutledge Road in Kanawha County.
"It's nice to have when you’re crawling through a burning building and it's 400-500 degrees in the building, It absorbs heat to protect you. Out here it absorbs heat, and it's not a good thing,” Kanawha County Emergency Management Director, C.W. Sigman said.
Even on days like Wednesday with the firefighters working to put out the fire from the outside of the home, the gear is still necessary, in case something inside the home were to explode.
"It’s really hot when you're outside the house working on a fire, we make sure we take plenty of breaks as we are now, everybody is in rehab, getting drink, then we'll get back to work." Pinch Vol. Assistant Fire Chief, Donald Milgram said.
Fortunately, firefighters don't believe anyone was inside the home, and there were signs that the house is vacant, but Kanawha County Emergency Management responded to watch out for the firefighters.
"Our focus is on the responders, to makes sure that the responder stays okay, so emergency management and the amublance authority are here just for that,” Sigman said.
It's a good thing they were there with water and Gatorade when one firefighter did get overheated.
"It's the Fourth of July and it is outrageous hot, and we still got people willing to come out and do this, we got to take care of them,” Sigman said.
Even though the sun has gone down, it's still possible to get overheated outside, Sigman said if you're going to be in this heat for an extended period of time you need to keep water handy and stay hydrated.