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      Cortland, New York Office
      Address:  67 Main St
      PO Box 5670
      Cortland, NY 13045
      Phone:  800.822.3747
      Fax:607.756.5051 (Underwriting)
      Fax:607.756.5967 (Claims Services)
      info@mcneilandcompany.com
      Denver, Colorado Office
      Address:  1331 17th Street
      Suite 810
      Denver, CO 80202
      Phone:  800.822.3747
      Fax:607.756.5051 (Underwriting)
      info@mcneilandcompany.com
      Petaluma, California Office
      Address:  1310 Redwood Way
      Suite 210
      Petaluma, CA 94954
      Phone:  888.814.4447
      Fax:760.423.1050
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  • Bring On The Heat

     
    Print McNeil & Company 3:10 pm

    By Dawn Vail
    Loss Control Safety Specialist
    Emergency Services Insurance Program

    June 2010
    The spring weather is finally here bringing with it sunny skies and warmer temperatures. Most of people look forward to shedding winter coats and gloves, but for those of us in emergency services, donning personal protective equipment is still a necessity whether it is the dead of winter or the hazy, hot, and humid days of summer. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are a common concern for firefighters and emergency service personnel and should be taken very seriously. This article will serve to remind you of the signs and symptoms associated with heat related illnesses and what your organization can do to protect each other from its consequences.

    Heat exhaustion is a result of core body temperatures rising above 100°F and often occurs when people exercise in a hot, humid place. Body fluids are lost through sweating and the body overheats. Heat stroke is life-threatening. Once the core body temperature has reached approximately 104°F, the persons cooling system begins to shut down. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. The key is to recognize the signs and symptoms early so that interventions may be implemented.

    Whether at fire training or an actual fire, firefighters run the risk of overheating. Identification of the signs and symptoms is the first step in preventing a medical emergency. The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke are listed below:

    SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

    Heat Exhaustion                                      Heat Stroke
    Pale, cool, moist skin                                    Flushed, hot, DRY skin
    Excessive sweating                                        Sweat decreases or stops
    Muscle Cramps or Pain                                May hyperventilate
    Headache, thirst, weakness, nausea          Dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, or coma
    Increased pulse rate                                      Elevated blood pressure – will eventually drop

    When working during the dog days of summer, always keep an abundance of fluids available for personnel and DRINK THEM!  The rule of thumb is to drink water if you will be working for an hour or less and a sports drink to replace electrolytes if you will be working for greater than one hour.  Limit the amount of time that personnel may be actively working in full PPE and require a minimum time of recovery and rehabilitation prior to re-entering the working environment.  Have medical personnel available to assess personnel regularly and create an environment where someone can be rapidly cooled if necessary – an air conditioned ambulance or rescue truck is a great cooling environment that can be utilized.  And whenever possible and safe to do so, shed the turnout gear and allow the body to cool itself.

    Firefighters and emergency personnel face hazardous conditions everyday and the job must be done in extreme conditions regardless of the weather forecast.  Take the time to watch each other for the signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses, rehydrate continuously, and cool down frequently.

    Stay Safe~

     

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    800.822.3747

    info@mcneilandcompany.com

    20 Church St
    Cortland, NY13045