Suiting up in full firefighter "turn out" gear -

Suiting up in full firefighter "turn out" gear

Since this is perhaps the hottest week of the year, the producers thought it would be a good idea to talk to firefighters about the challenges they battle on the job.

Ron Harder of the Rock Community Fire Protection District in Arnold decided I'd benefit from putting on the approximately 70 pounds of gear.  It wasn't hot at all when we were out there this morning.  Probably less than 80 degrees.  I only wore the gear for about ten minutes but I was sweating big-time.

I could only imagine wearing all that stuff when it feels like 100-degrees AND working on putting out a 350 to 400-degree fire. 

I wondered how these firefighters keep from getting heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  Harder told me after 15 minutes firefighters are forced to come out and cool down.  They take off all their gear, have fans on them, drink water and Gatorade and have paramedics check their vital signs.

I've been on scenes where firegfighters are taken away in ambulances.  Harder says the precautions they take limit that from happening but it's always a posibility.

He says it's also important for firefighters to be in excellent physical shape, drink lots of fluids before, during and after their shifts and eat lighter in the summertime.

It's a dangerous job every day of the year, but the extreme heat is an added danger firefighters are well aware of and don't take lightly.

Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV.  He can be reached at

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