A look at how York City firefighters handle the heat

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

YORK, Pa. --  Temperatures soared above 90 degrees in parts of our area this afternoon. The higher than average heat could put first responders in danger.

How do firefighters, fighting flames in intense heat, stay safe?

They say the same way doctors recommend all people stay safe: properly hydrating and making sure they have enough water when they leave the station.

When the bell rings, that means it's go-time for York City Firefighters.

Before they head out, it's first time to suit up.

Whether these firefighters are responding to a heroin overdose or a house fire in the extreme heat, their own safety must be forefront.

"They have to be cautious - hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You'll see guys walking around, drinking lots and lots of water because we don't know what the day's going to bring," said Chad Deardorff, Deputy Fire Chief of York City Fire Department.

Consider this, a full firefighting suit and gear weighs more than 75 pounds.

"I've had people come up and ask, 'How hot is it?' Well, it's hot. I'd be sweating in shorts, let alone this thing," said Mac Cochran, a firefighter for York City Fire Department.

"You're putting 75 pounds of equipment on a 90 degree day with whatever the humidity is on top of going into a potentially 7-8-900 degree fire. There's always that concern. We will pick up extra alarms relatively quickly in this time solely to get relief for guys, switching in and out," explained Deardorff.

If they're not drenched in sweat...

"That's a problem," stated Deardorff. "That's a sign of dehydration and potential heat issues, stroke, and so on."

As for whether or not it's safer for firefighters to be in the heat or the snow, FOX43 received similar answers from Cochran and Deardorff.

"Both come with unique challenges. Both come with unique circumstances you need to consider. Personal preferences aside, I'd rather respond in the heat," said Cochran.

"I'll take this any day. Snow is miserable. Trying to get to things, trying to get to hydrants, trying to get lines ran," added Deardorff.

During the heat, York City firefighters will potentially respond to more electrical fires, specifically fires caused by improper of overuse of an air conditioning unit.

They want to remind people to keep their air conditioners clean. If it ever freezes, give it enough time to defrost before running it again. Last, make sure you plug your unit directly into the wall and not a cheap extension cord.

That way, firefighters here have one less fire to worry about.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.