Abilene firefighters face extra stress from summer heat
ABILENE, Texas - While the Abilene Fire Department deals with heat on a regular basis, extra precautions are taken when temperatures outside reach the triple digits.
"The gear all together, it is very hot, especially during the summer time," said Logan Critz, a lieutenant with the Abilene Fire Department.
Lt. Guy Workman is a field resource medic for the department, and he says they always work to ensure the safety of the firefighters.
"When they come out, we will check their vitals, check their [carbon dioxide levels] and make sure they didn't get any byproduct of the combustion inside the fire," Workman said. "It's just safety that we do 365 days a year, but we're extra vigilant … with the heat that we're dealing with this summer."
When factoring in the humidity and temperature, heat indexes on a 98 degree day can reach 120 degrees outside.
"With the days, we know they can get up close to 110 degrees," Workman said. "We've got guys that start out with the fire, they're already wearing gear, and they're already sweating. We have to be very careful about dehydration issues."
AFD sets up medical stations whenever working fires are declared to keep the firefighters safe.