Firefighters battling heat in more ways than one

Crews say fitness, hydration key to weathering high temperatures


SAN ANTONIO – Firefighters have one of the toughest jobs around made even tougher by the temperatures of a South Texas summer.

"You're basically wearing a winter coat and winter pants breathing off of bottled air, so the conditions in there are quite extreme," said San Antonio Fire Department Battalion Chief Brian Norris.

Hydration and physical fitness are crucial to surviving the high temperatures, Norris said.

"We try to keep them cool as much as possible. The medics do a great job of rehabbing the guys with cool water and drinks," said Norris. "And if it comes down to it, we have special rehab buses that come out and keep the guys cool before we have to send them back in to finish the job."

Meanwhile, the local chapter of The American Red Cross is installing free smoke detectors in homes around the city and reminding residents to have a plan in place in case of a house fire.

On average, families have two minutes to get out safely during a house fire.

"A lot of people seem to think that they have more time than they actually do for escaping a home fire," said Eric Maldonado, with the Red Cross.

Maldonado reminds residents to test the batteries in smoke detectors, too.

You can call The American Red Cross 210-224-5151 for a free smoke detector.

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