Firefighters & Heat - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters & Heat

Posted: Updated:

A Fairfield Firefighter is recovering from heat exhaustion after responding to a Sunday morning fire. Firefighters throughout the area are battling the heat from the flames and scorching temperatures.

Firefighters worked a fully engulfed house fire in North Birmingham Sunday. Battalion Chief Ty Gober says on days like this, he encourages firefighters to start drinking water early in the morning. It typically takes 2 to 3 hours after a fire is over to recuperate, but duty may call again before that time frame is up.

A Birmingham firefighter rubs the sweat off his face after battling a house fire on 27th Street North.  Gober says "On these 90 plus degree days, it starts working on our firefighters"

Heat becomes another obstacle, even during short time spans.  "We had it under control in about 15 minutes." That's why firefighters are asked constantly to "hydrate, hydrate, hydrate."

Gober says firefighters go through a rehab process to cool them down, plus "Our Fire Alarm Dispatch give us the weather report. Once we get past a certain temperature they start giving us a weather report to let us know we have a schedule of how long our firefighters can work in this amount of heat."

Heat already sent a Fairfield Firefighter to the hospital Sunday. Those who have to wear turn out gear understand the difficulties.  Pelham Battalion Chief Blair Sides says "It gets on up, well over 100 degrees inside that turnout gear." The heat didn't prevent Pelham firefighters from their workout regiment. They must stay fit to wear the gear to other calls too.  Sides says "We have get brush fires we have to go to. A lot of times it's on rough terrain."

Luckily, both departments say they're suited with better gear. Sides says "We got the advanced fabrics that at least allow the perspiration to evaporate off, which does some cooling." And there are mobile rehab units on stand-by to provide shade, more water and a cooler place to recoup.

Firefighters say they also run into similar problems with the heat while working wrecks. If a car needs to be cut open, they still have to wear turn out gear to keep themselves protected.