Firefighters douse flames in extreme heat

Firefighters douse flames in extreme heat

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - As firefighters battled smoke and fire inside a home on Edwin Ladner Road Thursday morning, everyone on the scene was battling the temperature as it crept up in the blazing sun.

"This time of year the high humidity, the high heat, the gear that we wear, the air packs, all of those combinations cause firefighters to get heat stressed," said Harrison County Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan.

One firefighter was treated for heat related issues on the scene.

Issues from the heat are one of the main concerns for Sullivan. That's why he makes sure those working to put out fires have time to rest and rehab.

"Rehabilitation of firefighters is very, very important because not only do we have to worry about the flames and the structure collapse, we have to worry about their safety from a medical standpoint; heart attack, heat strokes, and all those things that go with it," said Sullivan.

One of the biggest challenges is staying hydrated. Medical personnel are always on the scene of a fire to make sure that happens.

Even though heat is something firefighters are trained to deal with, extreme conditions are nothing to take lightly. Those training at the Gulfport Fire Academy know that first hand.

"It takes a lot to put back what you lose. You can lose your water rate very quickly in a fire," said Wayne Kuehling, an instructor at the academy.

As an instructor, Kuehling makes sure recruits are being conditioned to high temperatures while staying safe.

"They have thermal layering in the gear that will not allow this heat to escape, so therefore it's staying inside your body and you will basically be working with a fever constantly," said Kuehling.

The goal is always to stay as healthy as possible to keep putting out the flames and possibly saving lives. The cause of the fire in Harrison County has been ruled accidental.

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