Wednesday, June 20, 2012
A FEW WAYS TO PREPARE FOR A HEAT WAVE IF YOU’RE A FIREFIGHTER AND SOME SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT RELATED INJURIES
- RE-HAB YOURSELF IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE FLAGGED IN RE-HAB!
- Take a week off from drinking beer, alcohol dehydrates you!
- Drink a glass of water hourly until your pee is clear!
- Pay attention to how much you sweat on bs runs, station duties, packing hose and then make sure you replenish it back at the firehouse.
- Keep a fresh cut watermelon on ice, on the kitchen counter. (who doesn’t eat a few fresh pieces of ice cold watermelon)
Heat Exhaustion- Tachycardia, Sweating, Hypotensive
Treatment: Cool PT down with cold packs to the groin, armpits and sides of the neck
Have the PT drink fluids preferably Gatorade mixed with water. If available have re-hab use “mister fans” to cover the PT in a slight mist of water.
Heat Stroke- PT has stopped sweating, altered level of consciousness along with tachycardia and hypotension.
Treatment: If PT is presenting rapidly cool with the PT with pouring water on the PT, Immediate ALS interventions with IV Fluids and Cardiac Monitoring. When we sweat we loose electrolytes, sodium, calcium etc. The presence and balance of these critical ions in your body allow your heart to beat properly when there is an imbalance the beating of your heart can become lethargic, irregular and may even stop. This is why RE-HAB SHOULD NOT BE AN OPTION!
Firefighters MUST hydrate while on duty and off duty to keep their water and electrolyte levels in normal ranges. Below are a few tips firefighters should follow during the summer months.
- Start the day with a full tank of water
- Hydrate yourself regularly through the day. Firefighters can sweat off 2 quarts of water per hour especially in hot and humid weather. So, you must drink at least 4 up to 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes.
- Do not be afraid that you are drinking too much. Once you realize you’re dehydrated, it’s too late and you’re most likely done for the day and putting yourself at huge risk.
- After major incidents, you need to consume a sports drink (Gatorade) to replenish your electrolytes (sodium, potassium and magnesium) which help retain fluid in the body and balance out these minerals that are vital to the normal bodily function.
- We lose electrolytes when we sweat. Dizziness, muscle cramps, extreme exhaustion and irregular heartbeat are symptoms of electrolyte loss in the body.
- According to nutrition experts, many athletes and firefighters lose endurance due to low levels of electrolytes.
- Another simple way to help keep hydrated and replenish vitamins and minerals is to lay out a fresh cut watermelon and place it over ice. Not many people can pass up a fresh, cold slice of watermelon!
Story by Staff Correspondent Matt Miles