Dispatchers at Public Safety Communications broadcast a prepared message every two hours while under the Heat Stress Watch reminding personnel of the dangerous and unhealthy conditions. Throughout the course of the day dispatchers provide the following information over the Fire/EMS Departments radio system:
“A heat stress watch is in effect for emergency operations.
Incident Commanders; heat stress injuries to fire service personnel are likely.
Consider limiting active work periods to 2 breathing air (SCBA) bottles or 40 minutes before directing crews to rehab.”
Crews, maintain pre-incident hydration by drinking eight ounces of water every hour throughout your shift.”
“Prevention before response ensures everyone goes home.”
Despite the heavy workload, personnel have remained healthy. Attention to the health and wellness of firefighters and paramedics is of the utmost concern at all times and particular care and precautions are administered during periods of high temperatures and unhealthy air. After being involved in firefighting operations all personnel must report to a rehab area. Water and ice packs are provided for hydration and to help the cooling process. Paramedics monitor vital signs and have personnel remain in the rehab area until vitals are documented as being within normal limits. Incident commanders are quick to request additional resources based on incident status. These resources include; Paramedics, air conditioned buses, additional staffing and a canteen unit.