ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — For some people around southwest Virginia, it might be impossible to avoid high temperatures this week.
First responders at Roanoke County Fire and Rescue spoke with WFXR News about how they prepare to handle any heated situations amid the hot weather.
“We all carry big coats, they work differently but they feel like big snow coats,” said Capt. Drew Willis. “They’re very insulated, very hot, very heavy.”
Willis adds that fire crews already have a heavy load to carry regarding clothing. They wear heavy coats, pants, and boots with gloves in addition to carrying their air tank. Their entire uniform weighs about 50 pounds and that doesn’t include equipment that can add at least 20 pounds.
Even in 90-degree weather, they have to gear up to save others from dangerous situations, running in and out of burning buildings and homes.
According to Roanoke County Fire and Rescue’s Community Outreach Coordinator Brian Clingenpeel, “When it gets a little hotter like this, we’re going to try and conserve energy during the day, stay in the shade, stay in the air conditioning as much as we can so that when we do have to respond to that emergency call and it is very hot because we have on all that extra gear, that we have a little more energy.”
He says when working a fire, crews will rotate shifts more often to give each other a break.
Even if you’re not a firefighter heading out to battle a blaze, Clingenpeel recommends conserving energy, staying cool, and drinking water.
Clingenpeel tells WFXR News that hydration is the most important of these rules, stressing that when temperatures are high, it’s important to drink water both the day before and the day of, even if you don’t plan to be outside too often.