Huntsville firefighters have a plan to keep cool as temperatures rise

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - When we get too hot we can normally change our attire to be more comfortable. But firefighters have the challenge of protecting the public and protecting themselves at the same time.

So how do fire crews make sure everyone stays cool in extreme temperatures?

Huntsville Fire and Rescue said the team has an effective plan.

"We bring extra manpower on the scene," explained Captain Frank McKenzie of Huntsville Fire and Rescue. "When the temperatures are not as hot you can work a little longer. But being that its summer, especially with the humidity down here like it is, we make sure that we make our crews work shorter periods of time."

Fire crews are rotated in and out of scenes to ensure everyone stays hydrated and no one overheats.

"We carry extra water on the truck, we carry Gatorade," he added.

McKenzie said several factors including the turn out suits firefighters wear make them warm up even faster.

"Not only are we dealing with the temperatures outside here and the humidity. When you go in a house, temperatures can reach eight hundred, a thousand degrees," explained McKenzie. "So you heat up real real fast."

On big scenes, fire crews said the Red Cross steps in to assist with keeping everyone cool.

Ultimately, Huntsville Fire said its crews are prepared for the worst conditions from day one.

"We teach them how to go in, how hot it is and how soon and quick they can overcome with heat. You got to know your limitations and the only way you can do that is with that live fire training," McKenzie added.

The fear of getting hurt or passing out from overheating is eased a little because none of their crews ever enter a fire alone.

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