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How do you battle the heat?

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  • How do you battle the heat?

    What are some good ways to battle the mid-day heat in your bunker gear? I started at the fire academy last week and my school is in Daytona Beach, Fl. so its gets really during the afternoon. Are there any good tips or inexpensive gadgets that can help with this?

  • #2
    Man all I can tell you is WATER WATER WATER!! Just think of it this way its how I survived my Fire Attack training what if you were fighting say a 3 alarmer in mid-day mid-summer 90 to 100 degrees no rest for the weary I'm 6ft tall 220lbs and just think I have black turnouts!! So mind control is thkey my boy DONT" THINK ABOUT IT!!!!!!

    Stay low and stay cool!!!


    • #3
      As a FireFighter from the other side of the State all I can say is this. Fluids, shade, and an understanding instructor. Except for the obvious drills, we are allowed to do most of our drills in gloves and helmet, if doing drills around the engine we add boots to keep our feet dry. Of course anything else is full gear. I hope your instructors allow you to be in a stand by mode with your coats and bunker pants open to allow for heat dissapation when you are not directly involved in a particular evalution. Also with your instructors permission you should be drinking fluids on a constant basis and if the school doesn't supply it, you had better. Don't make your drink choice all one item either, water is the best followed with a Gatoraid/Powerade type of drink. A damp towel around the back of your neck helps too but don't get your gear to wet if your doing any live interior fire drills that day, the water will turn to steam if it is extremely hot. Hope these tips from a fellow 20 year Florida F/F help. Best of luck in your new profession.


      • #4
        This first part is dependent on your instructor's, but...

        Anytime your not actively engaged in "operations" or part of a back-up team, or getting ready to imminently take part in those activities, your instructors better allow you to get the coat off.

        If your on an extended break, strip off the pants & boots. It's amazing how hot your feet feel once you strip off the boots!

        It's an unneccessary and unjustifiable risk in high heat & humidity to require people in full bunker gear when there is no reason for it.

        Start super-hydrating when you get up in the morning. And don't stop.

        If you can maintain clear or light-yellow urine all day, during the day at the drill grounds, and in the evening you're properly hydrated. If you have dark yellow/strong urine -- increase your water intake.

        I like either straight water, luke-warm to warm (especially when working -- I can't stand cold water in a hot stomach!). I also like Gatorade or Powerade at half strength -- drink half a bottle, fill back up with water, drink, fill empty bottle with water, drink it, etc...

        1) You know it's gonnna be a great class when...I got to the drill grounds one day, and the three instructors stood in front of the class. And *they* where all wearing CamelBacks And this wasn't even a bunker gear operation -- and I was still drinking four to five quarts a day during the class.

        2) All time personal record: Structure fire on a 95 hot & humid July day where you could see the haze in the air. I happened to weigh myself that morning. **After** I had drunk about a quart back at the station, I went home to shower -- weighed myself again out of curiousity. I was down 10lbs in water weight alone from a 2 hour firefight & cleanup! Add in the quart I already drank, that meant my body put out 1.5 Gallons of sweat during the fire!

        Fluids, Fluids, Fluids...
        IACOJ Canine Officer


        • #5
          I agree... water, water, water... I am a civilian firefighter for the DoD. I had to go through the DoD Fire Acad. at Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, TX. I wad there in the summer of 1998 when they had all that record heat of 100 degree plus days. It was 100 by noon most of the time and peaked from 108 to 110s by 4pm.

          I bought one of those 2 gallon water coolers with a spout. Our fireground training started at 730 am and ended around 1130. All the time we wore our bunkers. That two gallons of water (and some grape powdered gator-aid) would be gone by our lunch break. I did have a rather idiot instructor trying to tell me I could not drink water unless I was on a break... that was B.S... I drank when ever I was not in a training session.

          Stay away from the caffine drinks and take it easy on the beer when you are off from the training. Just because you are off duty does not mean you should stop drinking water. Drink H2O when you are off and not training. Drink a big glass before you go off the the class.

          I still drink lots of water when I am on and off duty. You never know when the alarms will go off for the big fire... it is best to keep yourself hydrated and in good shape.

          I hope this helps

          Mmmmmm, Beer


          • #6
            Since I livein one of the warmer parts (heat index is usually about 110 degrees) of Texas. The only tips I can give are:
            1. WATER
            2. Shade when you can
            3. Hands on training in the evening or early morning.
            Good luck.


            • #7
              Hydration is number ONE!!!!!! I went through down here in FL about three years ago, so, I know where you are coming from. Wal-mart has the cooling bandanas. You soak them and put them in the fridge over night. They are filled with a gel that stays cool for a long time. Look in the sports section. Also, you can get shirts made from a material called Cool-Max. Look at GI Jeffs or look in Galls. The material is made to be used under body armaor and promotes circulation of air around you center mass. Hope this helps. Good luck in fire school and don't let Cpt. McDaniel run ya down too much.

              Stay safe.
              Bless all of our Fallen Brothers and Sisters. You will not be forgotten


              • #8
                Water, water, and then some more water...also always always take off mask, hood, helmet, gloves, and coat, then open your bunkers up and let the air circulate. No one wants to see a fire fighter go down from heat exhaustion if it can be avoided. Just keep yourself cool at all costs.
                Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!


                • #9
                  Fluid loss can peak of about 3 litres per hour in extreme conditions

                  This link came across on Fire-L email today and seemed pertinent.

                  Also an interesting paragraph on the view of the Swedish fire service, and using hoods to help keep the body temp regulated:
                  IACOJ Canine Officer


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