Firefighters and construction workers try to stay cool during triple digit weather

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As temperatures rise in the Valley, firefighters and construction workers see this as potentially the most dangerous time of the year for themselves and for everyone who has to be outdoors. (KFSN)

As temperatures rise in the Valley, firefighters and construction workers see this as potentially the most dangerous time of the year for themselves and for everyone who has to be outdoors.

"You know, heat stress, especially in the Valley is something that's on the radar of all workers who work outside," Deputy Fire Chief Rich Cabral said.

Cabral knows the warming weather will keep his firefighters very busy. Attics get hotter, grass fires are more common, and when his crews go to battle, they're carrying 50 pounds of gear directly into a heat source.

"So what we have to do is rotate crews from other stations into that fire scene to assure those firefighters seeing that kind of fire activity and that kind of heat, that they get rehabilitation, that they get cooled down," Cabral said.

And new intersection work has city crews out in Downtown Fresno every morning changing out street lights for a new two-way bridge over the rail line.

As the sun shines brightly, workers reach for the water and look for the shade.
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And new intersection work has city crews out in Downtown Fresno every morning changing out street lights for a new two-way bridge over the rail line.



"We try and keep ourselves hydrated and get out of the sun as quickly as we can," Chris Salazar with the City of Fresno. "We don't spend our whole day in the sun."

They all broke out early in the day and the temperature wasn't pushing 100 yet, but this is a time of year they're especially watchful for trouble.

"We're very concerned when the heat just begins, like now," Cabral said.

Battalion chiefs are already sometimes calling in help from outside stations so firefighters can rotate out more frequently, and they're taking extra steps before letting them back into the hot zones.

"On every structure fire, we're ensuring we set up a rehab area and we're assigning an ambulance and a paramedic to come into that rehab area and actually evaluate our personnel before they go back into that fire environment," Cabral said.

The heat isn't bad enough yet to keep school kids off outdoor playgrounds and firefighters say they're not getting many calls of heat exhaustion or stroke yet, but they're warning people to take precautions and watch for the signs.

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