Well the hottest that I have seen my thermometer has been 121. Now that is hottern hell. Our firefighters in the region have been out fighting fires in this heat. It is just inhuman. Most of the fires are started by dry lightning that we have had with some fake cool fronts that pop thru. I visited with the local county fire chief and expressed my concern with the personal turnout gear that they have to wear. When I was on the floor I was disgusted with the department not allowing the use of forestry gear which is lightweight and still gives protection. When you add 75 pounds in hot clothing and boots to a person and let him hike several miles pulling hose up and down hills it will drain your energy and moisture in no time. Luckily the chief said they were going to go to the forestry gear.
Volunteer departments which are 75% of the nations firefighters have a tendency to be in poorer health than full time departments. That is because the age and availability for manpower for the rural areas is critical. These ranks are why the full time departments started hiring women. Not because of the equal rights clause but that they have proven they can do the job.
Heart and health problems are not automatic disqualifiers for rural departments. The need for manpower is just too great. I know one little town, pop. 7. The only man left in town had open heart surgery and he would pull the truck out to the road and wait on the first cowboy to come by and comandeer him to go on to the fires. This is no joke it is real life in the country.
I am hoping to start a partnership with a fire equipment manufacturer to produce a radical new fire attack vehical to give the rural departments a fighting chance. Wish me luck. And remember the firefighters and EMT's in your prayers.