Chattanooga firefighters take precautions during heat

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Chattanooga firefighters say this heat it can be dangerous for them, so they take certain precautions.

Firefighters at the Chattanooga Fire Department wear a lot of gear. Someone who weighs nearly 180 pounds would weigh more than 300 with everything on.

“Your temperatures quickly rise with the gear on, easily to 102, which can lead to more significant issues like heat exhaustion. We try to minimize those impacts,” said Safety Chief Travis Williams, with the Chattanooga Fire Department.

When they are battling fires in hot temperatures, they make adjustments.

“It puts a lot of stress on the body normally we go with two SCBA bottles, which is what we use to breathe during normally times and during the high heat. We switch to one SCBA bottle. We have to call in extra crews to reduce the workload and really focus on rehab,” Williams said.

On Monday night, two firefighters got heat related injuries in a fire at the Steeplechase apartments in Hixson.

They were transported and released from the hospital.

No residents were injured.  A dog did die.

Firefighters say a grill caught on fire and it spread quickly to the apartment and attic, and also affected several other units.

Residents appreciate what firefighters did.

“Beyond thankful for what they do. If it wasn’t for them, it could have gotten worse quick and possibly even deadly,” Jennifer Welch said.

Firefighters participate in year long fitness initiative that focuses on nutrition and hydration. They say it is particularly helpful during hot days.

“During the high heat everyone is encouraged to hydrate before their shift and stay hydrated during,” Williams said.

As for the general public, firefighters say if people are working outside they should try not to during the hottest part of the day and they should take breaks.

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