Firefighters stay cool during their hot work

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By Sarah Blais By Sarah Blais

PHOENIX -- While most of us are running inside to escape the heat, firefighters are taking special precautions as they run into even hotter burning buildings.

How do they do it?

Crews have to carry 60 pounds of equipment on them when they respond to fires, which is not made of breathable material. Hence, they are expected to stay hydrated.

"Once they have that gear on, and it's a day like today where it's gonna be 118, that stuff doesn't breathe," said Capt. Jonathan Jacobs from the Phoenix Fire Department, "so inside and underneath their jackets, they're going to be heated up into that 125, 126 mark, and it doesn't go away."

One vehicle that aids them on larger emergencies during this time of year is the rehabilitation unit. It contains air conditioner units, misters and fans for firefighters to cool down and re-hydrate in between fighting fires.

"That'll get them right back to work as fast as possible," said Jacobs.

For the rest of us, the fire department can't emphasize enough to drink plenty of water before, during and after doing outdoor work or exercising. The color of your urine is a good indicator if you're drinking enough - if it's yellow or dark, you're dehydrated. Urine is clear when you're well-hydrated.