SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Firefighters already deal with heat during each call they respond to. But when summer temperatures continue to be in the upper 90s, Springfield Fire Department has had to change its approach. 

“We also make sure and rotate as early and often as we can to make sure that we stay cool and we’re able to be that proper level of cool in our body outside of the gear when we take it off and cool down,” Assistant Chief Bryan Newberry said. 

Newberry said constant rotations require more responders at each scene. He said they’ve put out 19 structure fires since June. 

“We rotate another crew through and call in for more people that need help to come to the scene in the event we need more people because of the heat,” Newberry said. 

With an average of 20 firefighters at any given scene, the department can look to outside resources if they need help responding to calls. 

“What happens at that point when we have multiple large incidents going on in the city, we draw from our partners to come in and to help us,” Newberry said. “In the event that that happens, then we have our partners in the county outside the city that do respond at the request through a mutual aid request to come in and help us fight fires.”

One first responder talked about what it’s like to work fires in these higher temperatures. 

“It doesn’t breathe very well,” Rescue Specialist Brian Fick said. “It’s heavy. It’s meant to keep me from getting in, but really doesn’t help us breathe so hot, sweaty, everything of that nature.”

Fick says crews continue to look after each other, but try to not let the heat bother them. 

“We’re trying to still accomplish a task, get our job done so that way we can report to rehab or obviously put the fire out and come back to the station to cool down.” Fick said.