Officials cycling more firefighters during heatwave

Brianna Willis Image
Sunday, July 23, 2023
Officials cycling more firefighters during heatwave
While their job is to keep everyone safe, there are safety concerns that arise for first responders in extreme temperatures.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Just before 6 a.m., Saturday morning, the Fresno fire department knocked down a blaze at a home on Roosevelt and Dennett avenues.

This came just a few hours after wrapping up another call at a house on Madison Avenue and Mariposa Street, that fire broke out just before 2 a.m.

Battalion Chief Brian Price says its not unusual to see an increase in fires during a heatwave.

"Call volume always, it seems to always go up in Fresno whenever there is heat. You know, we are in that time of year everything that could burn will burn," said Price.

While fire crews were able to quickly put out both fires, Price says the heat can also affect their team.

"Unfortunately, we did have one firefighter injured last night it was even during the night what it was as a result of the injury was a heat-related injury," said Price.

During the heatwave, early morning temperatures can still be in the 80s, and Price says their gear protects them from the heat, but also keeps the heat in, which is why they are taking action to try and keep their team safe.

"What we do is we augment our response with additional firefighters so that we can cycle folks who in their work-rest ratio," said Price.

Price says they have devices to keep core temperatures down, but they need the public's help to be extra cautious during this time.

"Believe it or not, it's vegetation fires and spread into homes, a lot of that comes from cooking, you know, so whenever you're out barbecuing and stuff, just be mindful of your surroundings of where you're cooking at," said Price.

Price adds the biggest reminder to everyone including their team is to drink water.

"We're really staying hydrated, the biggest thing folks can do right now to help themselves so they don't have any heat-related issues, is just stay hydrated, stay in front of it," said Price.

Price says to keep their core temperature down they have a built-in device in their coats or helmet that acts as an air conditioning system to cool them off.

As far as the condition of the firefighter who was injured Saturday morning, officials say he's been treated and released.

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