Fire training starts earlier to avoid summer heat - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fire training starts earlier to avoid summer heat

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - On Tuesday the heat was terrible, and Eastern Iowa was under a heat advisory.

Most of us dress down when it gets hot out, wearing tank tops, shorts and flip flops. But some Cedar Rapids firefighters were gearing up for training on this sweltering day.

With the sun beating down, and thousand-degree heat possibly waiting inside an abandoned (but burning) building, the firefighters put on 50 pounds of gear. That includes helmets, oxygen tanks, and suits to guard them from the inferno.

"Nomex hood, protective Nomex pants and bunker coat," said Steve Mast, firefighter.

But what keeps the heat out, also traps it in.

"It'd be like putting on your snow suit when you went outside in the middle of the summer."

Even when the flames aren't flaring for exercises, the inside of the training building is a smoke-filled sauna. Temperatures can reach 600 degrees for the exercises, but full-fledged infernos are much hotter.

"Temps in a compartment can be anywhere from a thousand to twelve-hundred degrees," said Dave Brown, district fire chief.

Training exercises like this usually go until the afternoon, but on days when the weather becomes a safety concern, the district chief starts at dawn, and hopes to be done by lunch. It's a good reason for his crew to be extra watchful for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

"Pay attention to not only yourself, but your crew members keep an eye on each other, and hydrate."

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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