Staying hydrated important for first responders during summer months

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Staying hydrated is vital if you're going to be outside over the next few months.

It's a lesson one local fire department learned firsthand when one of their firefighters was sent to the hospital while on the job.

"We like to think we are but we're not indestructible," said Tom Bean Fire Captain, Carl Rowland. "We're human just like everybody else."

First Responders know the importance of staying hydrated in the summer months but it can easily be forgotten when they're in the middle of fighting a fire, or working to protect people in their community.

"We just try to get the guys to drink and keep hydrated because they are burning through so much water an hour, and the equipment they wear is just hard on the bodies," said Howe Fire Battalion Chief, Eric Hoy.

Hoy says just last week one of their own blacked out from dehydration.

He says it's important for everyone to take care of themselves, especially first responders, who carry up to 70 pounds of extra equipment.

Hoy says these specific fire jackets are used in structure fires. Now these jackets have about one to two inches of extra padding and are three different layers which can make firefighters' body temperatures rise to over 100 degrees when fighting a fire.

"The fabric is made to withstand 3,000 degrees of heat in a short period of time," Hoy said. "So you can see how that traps the heat in you also."

Rowland says he's also experienced dehydration while out on a fire.

"I didn't even realize I was getting dehydrated until it was too late," Rowland said. "There is no more water running down your face. You know you can tell it's not running inside of your gear, you'll feel it running down your legs, arms, inside the jackets, and then it just stops."

Hoy says the Howe firefighters go through four to six water bottles an hour and will go through a whole case out on a call.

He says they are always accepting donations.

"An anonymous donor left two cases of Gatorade," Hoy said. "We really appreciate that. It cost the city a lot of money, and we spend a lot of our own money just to keep these guys hydrated and drinking."

If you would like to donate or help, contact your local fire department.

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