Firefighters work to stay safe during hot weather weekend - KPTV - FOX 12

Firefighters work to stay safe during hot weather weekend

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Fighting a blazing fire is already a dangerous job, but it can become even more dangerous when scorching heat is added.

For firefighters answering calls during the heat wave that slammed Portland this weekend, the higher temperatures meant changing up how they respond to calls.

Clackamas firefighters were called to an apartment fire at the Riverwalk Apartments Saturday evening. The cause has yet to be determined for sure, but investigators think a grill on an apartment patio may be to blame.

While battling a fire like that one on Saturday, the crews from the Clackamas Fire Department said their gear makes them feel even hotter than it is outside.

"If it's 100 degrees outside like it was yesterday, generally inside it's 25 to 35 degrees hotter within our gear, so you're instantly warm and inside working hard,” firefighter Micah Shelton said.

Firefighters put on hoods, pants, gloves, helmet, and even an air tank when fighting a fire. Shelton told FOX 12 that protective gear keeps them safe but also makes things a lot heavier.

“So with our gear on average, it’s an extra 50 to 60 pounds of additional weight,” he explained.

In order to stay safe with the extra heat and weight, firefighters said they have to call more crews out during this time of year so they’re not working as long. They also have rehab areas set up where firefighters can go to rest, sit down, and refuel with food and water.

"We have to work hard for that 20, 30 minutes before we get a break,” Shelton said.

Despite the high temperatures and heavy equipment, Shelton added that the job was still meaningful to him and his fellow firefighters.

"While it is challenging and it’s not the most ideal environment, we do enjoy doing what we do.”

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