San Antonio Fire Department adds more fire crews to response calls during hotter months

With the temperatures getting higher earlier than usual, crews are expecting the increased responses for longer.

SAN ANTONIO – Rain and extreme heat are expected to continue in the San Antonio area for quite some time, prompting firefighters to suit up.

The only thing that will change is how they respond to calls. On hot days, the number of crews that respond is increased to rotate crews faster, preventing heat-related illnesses.

“When it’s hot and humid like this, it obviously takes a greater toll on the body. So, we want to get those crews rotated out faster,” said SAFD Public Information Officer Joe Arrington.

Arrington said on a typical day, crews rotate every 30 minutes on average.

Throw in some upper 90-degree weather and that drops down to about 15 minutes. The faster rotations and larger responses also allow firefighters to rehabilitate for longer before going back to work.

“Whether it’s medical runs, hydrant inspections, whatever it is, you’re out in the elements. You’re in the heat, in the humidity and then a fire comes in and you never really got a chance to cool off,” said Arrington.

This past Thursday, May 12th, a firefighter overheated. Luckily he was treated quickly and was ok. It happened at a county fire with five different agencies responding. No other injuries were reported.

With the temperatures getting higher earlier than usual, crews are expecting the increased responses for longer.

Arrington said they’re prepared to meet the demand and that help is only a call away if needed.

“If we have three or four second-alarm fires working in town, we’re going to run low on resources but we have great working relationships with our neighboring departments,” said Arrington.

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About the Authors:

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.