Firefighters dealing with extreme heat and gas prices

Firefighters are trying to find more ways to keep cool during the high temps.
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 6:49 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - In a summer of surging gas prices and high temperatures, firefighters and their volunteers are feeling the pressure.

With temperatures reaching triple digits this week, firefighters are prioritizing their heat safety.

Blazing fires, high temperatures, and heavy gear create a quick path to heat exhaustion for the men and women who spend their time fighting fires.

The firefighters’ gear is so heavy, it can get up to 60 pounds.

To keep their crew safe, firefighters follow basic protocols, including drinking water, wearing sunscreen, and sitting in shade. According to Heath Jones of the Toney Volunteer Firefighters says his group takes it a step further.

“On the job, you really don’t have the luxury to rehab as much as you’d like,” Jones said. “Any type of work environment we have, we always set up a rehab spot for our personnel to get in the shade, get some water, and cool down.”

These volunteers are facing more than extreme heat though.

When the firefighters respond to an emergency call, most of the time, the calls aren’t fire related. Instead, they’re accidents.

When they get those calls, they arrive in their personal vehicles, which they are responsible for filling up.

Gas prices impacting volunteer firefighters.

Madison County Commission funds the actual fire engines, and Madison County Commissioner Phil Vandiver said they are already $2 million over their allotted budget on gas alone.

“They’re the heart and soul of our community,” Vandiver said. “We wouldn’t be what we are in Madison County without them. We are just gonna try to make sure we can take care of the money we’re spending. I’m spending about $6,000 a month on Volunteer fire department gas and fuel for their truck now.”

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