NC firefighters prepping for the heat wave

Extra crews at fires during hot weather

HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - Firefighters in Hickory and elsewhere are watching the weather closely as the holiday weekend approaches - and they’re making plans for extreme heat.

With temperatures expected in the mid-90s, officials say any fire can be dangerous for firefighters. The gear they wear is designed to keep the heat of the fire out but also traps the body heat in.

In extreme situations in the summer, heat stroke is a real threat. It’s why in most cases extra crews and medical teams are called to every fire scene so the firefighters can regularly rotate off the front line.

Firefighter Anthony Smith demonstrated the gear that he would wear and said within a minute in mid-80 degree weather, “I am already sweating.”

The gear is at least 70 pounds - and that adds to the heat stress as well.

Officials say the summer protocol of extra crews and medical teams on scene is normal every year, but this year it appears to be starting sooner.

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.