Firefighters Brave Summer Elements to Serve Community

Tips and Tricks on Staying Safe in Summer Heat

BOLIVAR, Mo -- As summer temperatures continue to rise, so does the threat of heat related illness, especially for our 1st responders.

Just earlier this month, a Kansas City Firefighter suffered a stroke and entered a coma following a training exercise. He was in the hospital for nearly a week, and doctors think that energy drinks may be to blame. 

Fire Chief James Ludden with the Bolivar City Fire Department tells his crew the importance of water. 

"We aren't talking soda. We aren't talking energy drinks," said Chief Ludden. 

Water not only extinguishes fires, it also fuels.

"We are tactical athletes," said Chief Ludden. "That is part of what this job requires. We physically fit because you never know what is going to happen during the day."

And to be honest with you, neither did I, suiting up for a ride-along with BCFD. It didn't take long to be in nearly 85lbs of gear, challenged with 15 minutes of various workout movements.

"This is a circuit based job performance training," said Chief Ludden. "

To be fairly scientific, we took our vitals to establish a baseline prior to working out. 

The thermal imaging camera, or TIC, said that my external body temperature is around 80-81 degrees. My heart rate, was 72 BPM. 


After those 15 minutes, my surface body temperature rose nearly a degree a minute, to around 96 degrees.

My heart rate doubled, and was around 163 beats per minute. 

"As the temperatures are increasing through the summer, we are rotating through that staff, especially on scene," said Chief Ludden. 

In the end, staying safe and beating the heat is a team effort. The Bolivar City Fire Department relies on the buddy system: meaning that it's everyone's job to watch out for one another.

That way, when the heat forces your heart rate to skyrocket like mine, these sirens aren't coming for you.



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