Local first responders brave hot temperatures to keep saving lives
They prepare for summer heat by drinking water often every day, not just when they're out on a call but even during down times at the station.
First responders rescued a 15-year-old girl yesterday. She fell 50 feet while hiking at Rainbow Falls on Signal Mountain. She was taken by helicopter to Erlanger hospital.
Crews had to deal with summer heat and heavy equipment. Even though the rescue took place in high elevations, this didn't bring much relief from the heat and the miserable humidity.
"Not much air movement in there. It did get pretty hot. A lot of stale air. Plus, we were moving the entire time, in and out of the sunlight."
Engineer William Maxwell was one of about ten people from Signal Mountain Fire and Rescue who went to Rainbow Falls on Sunday. The rescue took place in rough terrain. This, plus the equipment they had to carry, made the job all that more challenging.
"I'd say the average person had 30 pounds on their back yesterday, easy. Each person."
"Limited footing I guess you could say. It kind of restricts your breathing a little bit."
They arrived around 3 p.m. as temperatures approached the upper 80s, but they say it felt more like the 90s. They prepare for summer heat by drinking water often every day, not just when they're out on a call but even during down times at the station.
"I carried in two and half liters in my pack, and I was empty by the time I got back. Initially the first crew had about 15 bottles of water."
Maxwell says you can never drink too much of it, but the heat even gets to the best of them. He needed help after finishing his shift.
"Lucky enough yesterday we had Hamilton County EMS and Hamilton STARS Rescue here. A lot of the guys got IVs when we got back to the top to replenish the fluids."
Maxwell and the other crew members also say most of their calls to wilderness areas are for minor emergencies like dehydration.
Before you go hiking, they suggest the following steps to stay safe:
• Carefully plan your route so you know how long you'll be out in the heat.
• Drink about one liter of water per hour, per person.
• Don't wander off the trails.
• Let someone who won't be with you know where you're going.
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