As summertime approaches, Texas firefighters face a new, very dangerous risk - heat stress. Hot weather can lead to firefighters experiencing heat cramps (involuntary muscle contractions), heat exhaustion (weakness, fatigue, nausea) or heat stroke (extreme elevations in body temperature). Heat can also increase the risk of firefighter injuries as it may result in sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses and dizziness. Burns may also occur as a result of accidental contact with hot surfaces or steam.
According to the Center for Disease Control, workers at greater risk of heat stress include those who are 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat. NFPA 1584 outlines the standards for firefighters in preventing heat stress and rehabilitating on the scene.
Recommendations for Firefighters:
To treat heat cramps:
To treat heat exhaustion:
Heat stroke is a time-critical medical emergency. Get the firefighter to a shady or cool area and call for emergency medical assistance immediately. Until they arrive, do the following:
For more information, check out this Summer Safety Risk Communique.
ESO WC GROUP
VFIS of Texas