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Firefighters battling blazes in extreme temperatures

Posted at 10:31 PM, Jun 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-16 07:19:21-04

KEIFER, Okla.- Kiefer Fire Department called for extra backup Tuesday afternoon after responding to a house fire due to the heat. But how are firefighters able to stay safe in extreme temperatures? 

Crews fought the fire for a couple hours. Fire crews say no one was hurt, but the house was a total loss. Another big concern was keeping the firefighters safe in the heat.

When the mercury rises, so does the danger firefighters face. 

"The guys go in for two or three minutes," Kiefer Fire Chief Chad Blakenship said. "It's up to 600 or 700 degrees in there. It doesn't take long to wear them out." 

Crews were forced to take extra precautions to stay safe.

"We just rotate the guys through, who came in and who came out, and make sure they are getting water rehab and drinking a lot of water and send them to the ice unit," Blakenship said. 

These brave men and women have a job to do, they try to save what they can. But they also have to save themselves. 

"You're more concerned about making sure you have enough air and are able to get out before you get too tired," Sapulpa firefighter Joshua Solis said. 

Water, rest and enough oxygen are essential. 

"This is my eighth water bottle," Kiefer firefighter Hunter Sistrunk said. 

"Our bottles last about thirty minutes, they are supposed to," Solis said. "On a day like this, I'm saying it's at least cut in half."

Most importantly, firefighters know when to back off. 

"Here at the fire departments we are trained to know our limits and we know when to pull ourselves," Sistrunk said.

When the fight is over, crews are still battling the exhaustion. 

"I'll probably go back to bed," Sistrunk said. "I don't know it I'll shower first, I'm exhausted. 

EMT's checked each firefighter's vital signs before they left the scene to make sure everything was OK and will keep checking for 24 hours. Officials say they also need to make sure and stay hydrated. 

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