“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate:” Local firefighters prepare for upcoming heat wave
OCEAN CITY, Md. – Rising temperatures for many means fun in the sun, but for The Ocean City Fire Department it means staying alert to the potential dangers the heat can bring.
To do that, Fire Chief Richard Bowers says they, “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate,” Bowers said.
“One of the things we always do in terms of our protocols is drink water before our shift, whether career or volunteer shift. 24hrs in advance.”
Their other secret to safety is staying cool and to do that personnel have constant access to cooling stations. “Especially someone like a firefighter who’s going to be working outside, they’re going to be running through so much water that they loose perspiration as their body attempts to cool off,” TidalHealth Peninsula Regional’s Emergency Medicine Specialist Dr. Cody Taylor said.
“Then that whole process of cooling down is not working and we can potentially find ourselves in a situation where our body temperature rises and rises and rises.”
Skidmore College’s First Responder Health & Safety Laboratory report indicates that heat stress can contribute to a sudden cardiac event in those with underlying heart conditions.
Research also shows that the leading cause of firefighter line-of-duty deaths is sudden cardiac events.
Fire personnel tell 47ABC their gear can weigh anywhere up to 60-75lbs. “It also provides installation and minimal air movement. That traps body heat inside,” OCFD Lieutentant Eric Borneman said.
“It’s a different phenomenon. You’re not sweating, you’re not cooling, you have a severe headache. You may even lose briefly consciousness,” Chief Bowers said.
Those brave men and women face the extreme heat on and off duty, which makes the power of H20 even more important. “So it’s so critically important that we stick to our rule we communicate out which is to hydrate before a shift, during a shift, and after a shift,” Chief Bowers said.
Health experts tell us that the CDC recommends for every 20 minutes you’re outside you should be drinking at least 6 to 8 ounces of water.
The Ocean City Fire Department wants those who do visit the resort town to know to avoid soda and alcohol while in direct sunlight as those can increase your chances of becoming dehydrated.