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Maryland firefighters take precautions as the job gets even hotter during scorching week

How firefighters are staying safe during Maryland's intense heat streak
How firefighters are staying safe during Maryland's intense heat streak 01:17

BALTIMORE -- Battling flames can be a dangerous job. But mixed with this week's extreme heat, that could put firefighters in more danger.

Anne Arundel County firefighters are planning to protect themselves from the extreme heat this weekend. The Fire Alarm Communications has a weather station mounted in its center to monitor the weather 24/7.

As the day progresses, the supervisor updates the commanders out in the field about the rising extreme heat.

They will issue a county-wide alert on their radios if it's too hot.

Donald Clime with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said extra staff is available to warn paramedics if a firefighter is experiencing concerning symptoms at a scene.

"Once their part of mitigating the incident is over, they go to a rehab area where their vitals are monitored if we see some abnormalities, we definitely will transport them to a hospital or get them further care as needed," Clime said.

To avoid health concerns, the firefighters start their day by packing a cooler with ice water and storing it on the engine.

Clime said nutrition also plays a big role.

They advise all firefighters to drink water and electrolytes rather than energy drinks.

The firefighters work 24 hour shifts so they are encouraged to eat light and healthy meals to keep their energy up.

But one of the biggest challenges they have is their gear. The firefighters' turnout gear can weigh about 70 pounds and insulates their bodies, spiking their internal temperatures.

This can make firefighters more vulnerable to heat stress or heat strokes.

"Once we're no longer in danger, we don't need that protective clothing," Clime said. "We need to get out of that and start to cool our bodies down and start that process."

Clime said there are ways citizens can help firefighters. 

For example, avoid cutting the lawn or exercising outdoors during the day because you could overexert yourself and put your life in danger.

It's important to listen to your body's warning signs because it could help avoid one less call to 911.

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