Utah firefighters face challenging conditions during heat wave

Jul 18, 2022, 1:25 PM | Updated: 3:07 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah firefighters are up against some challenging conditions as they work in high temperatures that can lead to heat-related illnesses.

With the temperatures expected to remain in triple digits this week, firefighters still have a job to do, even if it’s hot outside.  They do the best they can to stay cool before, during, and after their shift.

High wind, high temperatures, and low humidity are a perfect recipe for several fires that sparked in recent days  – including one Sunday near Interstate 80 and 7200 West.

“It was pretty intense,” said Capt. Tony Stowe with the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

Salt Lake Fire crews take down fire near railway

Don’t forget the protective gear that Salt Lake City firefighters wear — it can weigh up to 100 pounds in some cases.

“For wildland and grass firefighting, we use lighter materials,” said Stowe.

Still, heat exhaustion or heat stroke can set in.

“There have been instances in years past where people have gotten quite ill just due to not being properly hydrated before going out there.”

Other fire departments are brought in to give crews more time to rest and shifts are reduced.

With two captains overseeing crews, Stowe said it’s important firefighters let them know when they need a break.

“We have taken crews out of duty for a couple of hours for rehabilitation. Allow them to get cleaned up, a cool shower, rehydrating, a couple of hours of rest.”

We can do our part to keep firefighters safe. With the Pioneer Day holiday coming up, celebrate responsibly with fireworks. Know the fireworks restrictions in your neighborhood.

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