Well the weather has finally broken here, and it is full on Summer time! As always this brings about unique challenges for us as we still have to deal with the routine emergencies, yet the conditions in which we deal with them have changed. These changes can lead to heat stress, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, the list goes on and on. I touched on this in a post last year about this time you can read that here: http://averagejakeff.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/heat-stress/
It is important that we address these situations in a proactive manner. While a lot of the responsibility should be taken by the individual, the company officer needs to be fully aware of the battle ground the company may have to face.
Ensure you assess the weather every shift. Temperature, humidity, possible storm systems, all play a factor in determining work rest cycles, resources needed, etc. If it’s a hot day the usual 1 engine response may take 2 or even 3 in order to successfully mitigate the task.
Perform an assessment of your crews nutrition, and hydration at the beginning of the shift, throughout the day, and after each run. Lets face it some people still do not get that soda is not a hydration tool. It is up to the officer to ensure that crews are hydrating properly pre and post incident, as well as maintaining a proper diet. You do not have to be a food dictator, or a water Nazi, just simply make sure you know what your crews are eating and drinking. It affects performance more than you know.
Post incident rehab is always important but even more so in extreme weather conditions. It is NOT one size fits all, and make sure you tailor it to each individual incident and person. Also implement medical monitoring to ensure that you catch any possible injury or illnesses early.
Summer can tend to grind us down as the fires tend to slow down but the frequency of calls and our exposure to the elements tends to increase as our citizens take to the outdoors. We need to be ready to respond in any situation, are you ready?
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!