Wildland Firefighter Safety at Wildland Fires
Wildland fire season is here! We’ve been honored to be on many fires this season, providing the highest level of medical care to our firefighters.
How do we maintain firefighter safety at wildland fires?
Heat-stress factors: ambient air temperature, radiant heat, humidity, air movement, physical demands, level of fitness, type of clothing or PPE worn, duration of activity,.
Heat-stress symptoms: nausea, flushed skin, cramping, headache, mental confusion, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, weakness, exhaustion, seizures, sunburn, vertigo, and absence of sweating.
Wildland Firefighters’ responsibilities: maintain proper rest and nutrition; observe appropriate work / rest cycles; hydrate before, during and after each shift; inform supervisor of any ill effects to heat, consume a minimum of 64 ounces of fluid should be consumed during a 24-hour period of physical work.
Energy drinks increase metabolic function slightly, which can make firefighters more sensitive to heat stress. This includes coffee, which is also a mild diuretic, making dehydration more likely. It is best to drink water and use electrolyte replacement drinks at a rate of one quart every 4-5 quarts of water. Dr James Fleming
Our priority is to keep wildland firefighters safe at wildland fires. Here’s to a safe wildland fire season 2016!