Firefighters battling Motor Fire face heat exhaustion
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Flames aren't the only threat firefighters are facing right now. The current temperatures pose another threat, heat exhaustion.
Triple digit temperatures paired with the physical labor of fighting a fire can take it's toll.
"Even the best firefighters, in the best shape, you can have a bad day, you don't drink enough water, you don't eat enough breakfast or calorie intake to maintain the energy level that you need, you are going to suffer from the heat," Dustin Hail said.
More than 800 firefighters are now working the Motor Fire. Every one of them was at risk in the hot weather.
"Well the temperature makes it a little more difficult because your body can't acclimate as fast when you're on the hillside doing that type of physical vigorous activity."
The blistering temperatures in the 90s and 100s, is a health hazard crews train to deal with every year. In early spring they practice scenarios including carrying hose packs while hiking up and down hills to build stamina.
Despite the constant training, firefighters battling the elements are more susceptible to heat exhaustion under their thick gear. "It all depends on the physical shape of the land, of the individual and the temperature."
So far two firefighters have reported heat stress. Medical officials Action News talked to say that symptoms of that include, headaches, muscle cramping and dehydration.
"People want to watch out for becoming dizzy, becoming weak, they might develop some cramps in their legs or their muscles, they might because nauseated. They might start vomiting," Glen Brackett said.
Firefighters often trade in and out on the front lines to prevent overheating. But paramedics are always on hand to treat crews.
Paramedics Action News talked to say this is one of their busiest times on the year so they are offering advice to anyone who may have symptoms of heat exhaustion.
"First thing is just go inside, go indoors, remove any extra clothing that you may have on, start drinking some water slowly, not so much that you become nauseated, sit down and rest maybe even lay down," Brackett said.
They add. If your symptoms get worse head to nearby hospital.
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