Huntsville Fire & Rescue keeping crews safe in heat

The department is usually able to pull crews from stations around the city because most have more than one truck.

Posted: Jun 1, 2018 5:17 PM
Updated: Jun 1, 2018 6:34 PM

WAAY 31 wanted to know what fire department do to keep firefighters safe during the summer heat.

Friday, we talked with Huntsville Fire and Rescue and learned they swap out crews in the summer when they're fighting fires.

The department's spokesperson, Captain Frank McKenzie, told us they closely watch their firefighters in this heat, and send trucks from stations all across the city to try to prevent the firefighters from overheating.

"We have to substitute people. You can maybe work a few minutes at a time it's not very long before you're getting really hot and really exhausted," he said.

He explained to WAAY 31 that there are 19 fire stations in Huntsville, and during the summer months they try not to send a crew back in to a fire.

"Alot of times especially in this heat we won't. We will sit them outside, let them do duties outside the fire scene, and then we'll send them home and bring another crew in their place," he said.

The department is usually able to pull crews from stations around the city because most have more than one truck, according to McKenzie.

"Our trucks are very similar and the drivers are crossed trained on each truck. The first crew might take a second truck and return the station with that truck and run calls because they're already exhausted and they're already tired but they go back to the station to get rehabilitated," he said.

McKenzie told me the summer heat and the heat from the fires can be dangerous.

"Out here it might be 90 degrees outside, but we go to a house fire and it may be 800 degrees ,900 degrees , 1,500 degrees inside that house," he said.

They always have District Chiefs out on scenes making sure everyone is safe, according to McKenzie.

"Our District Chiefs are really really good abut watching crews and knowing how long they've been on scene. When they need to come out and when they need to relax and when they need to hydrate," he said.

According to McKenzie, paramedics are on each scene and if it's a hot day they will check out the firefighters heart rate and blood pressure to make sure they don't need to go the hospital.

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