Kansas City firefighters press on amid sweltering summer heat

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If you were outside at any moment Thursday afternoon in Kansas City then you were caught in the baking heat and stifling humidity,   imagine how it felt if you had to carry heavy equipment and wear thick, suits that weigh 45 pounds or more.

”We come out here and we try to stay hydrated early, early in this shift, “ Deputy Chief Jimmy Walker, with the Kansas City Fire Department, said.

On Thursday when the temperature soared in the upper 90’s and heat indexes reached between 105 and 112 degrees, more than a dozen firefighters wiped their foreheads, poured cups of water on their heads and battled a fire at vacant house near 25th and Hardesty.

You bet it was brutal.

”The suits are all so heavy and they don’t breathe well. This is what we have to deal with when it’s hot, but as soon as we can get these guys and gals to get their gear stripped off, we do,” Deputy Chief walker said.

Of course, there’s lots of cold water ready for these every day heroes to drink , too. Every pumper truck carries a big cooler filled with ice water.

”Once they come out of a fire you know we make sure we’re standing by with water and cold packs. We also have relief crews ready to go,” Deputy Chief Walker said.

If a firefighter is overcome by the heat or feeling uneasy for any reason, he or she can quickly cool off in an air-conditioned ambulance.

”We’ll pull them off to the side. We’ll take their vitals you know, give them fluids and possibly transport them if necessary.  We’re lucky, at this fire, today no one was transported,” Deputy Chief Jimmy Walker said.