Vet Voices

Firefighters prepare for this week’s heatwave

Ohio County

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Ash. Flames. Heat. These are the conditions firefighters face when called to duty.

While the job is never easy, staying healthy and awake during a summer heat wave is an added challenge.  

It’s nothing you can prepare for. I mean, it is what it is. It’s hot. It’s part of the nature of the business. We just try to stress the hydration.

Paul Harto, Assistant Chief, Wheeling Fire Department

Not only do these brave firefighters suit up in gear that weighs more than 100 pounds, but they’re limited on breathing. They actually breath through a small hole in a face mask, which allows them to have no skin exposed. 

The guys have their own N95s to wear. They have their own eye protection to wear. They use the air PPE as required to use on every call they go out on. 

Paul Harto, Assistant Chief, Wheeling Fire Department

It’s no secret that putting out fires is a dangerous job that requires much skill and sweat.  

The average fireman fighting a fire with temperatures up to a thousand degrees, they sweat a lot. That’s why we don’t talk about ounces. We talk about they sweat a lot of water out. 

Paul Harto, Assistant Chief, Wheeling Fire Department

Perhaps what is most impressive about this line of work, is the brave men and women who choose to battle obstacle upon obstacle.  

It’s a thankless job. You’re out there in all kind of weather. It’s hot, cold. You’re in water, out of water, in burning buildings, out of burning buildings, there’s so much diversity that you have to be physically fit to do this job. You have to have that mentality of helping somebody else before yourself. I’m proud of my guys. They do a great job. Everybody does a really good job. 

Paul Harto, Assistant Chief, Wheeling Fire Department

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