Mesa firefighters battle heat and flames during house fire
Posted: Aug 16 2015 05:49PM MST
Updated: Aug 16 2015 08:31PM MST
The high temperatures can make matters worse for first responders in the valley.
Just imagine fighting a fire with several pounds of gear strapped to your back. Firefighters end up battling the heat outside along with the flames. Fox 10's Danielle Miller was in Mesa today and has information on how first responders kept cool while fighting a house fire.
A fire in this vacant home near Country Club Drive and McKellips Road started around noon today. Because of the extreme heat, fire crews had to bump this fire to a first alarm which adds a rehab support unit for firefighters.
As you can imagine fighting a fire in this weather takes a major toll.
When firefighters arrived on scene, they learned that a backyard shed was fully engulfed in flames that were spreading quickly to the attic of the home.
"Crews had to make a very quick deployment and a very quick attack here,” said Capt. Ken Hall with the Mesa Fire Department. “We realized early in the game that it's a very hot day so we called for additional resources quickly because we know our work cycles are going to be reduced."
"As they go through their work, cycles may be anywhere from 10 to 12 minutes,” says Hall. “We rotate our crews to the rehab area, and the crews quickly report to an area in the shade. We have a full area established with chairs, misting fans, water."
While in the rehab tent, crews are able to take off their gear...drink water...and have their vitals checked.
They spend about 20 minutes in the tent and are then assessed to see if they are fit to continue fighting the fire.
Captain Ken Hall with the Mesa Fire Department says these breaks are crucial during a 24-hour shift in triple digit temps.
"These crews get heated up in the morning running medical calls, other fires, and they come to an incident like this, but they still may have another 15 hours that they have to work in this heat, so we have to be proactive, prevent any injury on the front end and keep them as cool as possible in this environment, so they can keep providing services through their shift."
These parameters are set in place by medical professionals, and if any of the firefighters fall below those parameters they aren’t able to continue fighting the fire until they pass.