During the summer months, fire departments respond to various hot weather calls. During these months, it is important to review your policies and procedures for tending to victims of heat-related injuries. It is also important to remember that with temperatures routinely exceeding 100 degrees during the summer months in some parts of the country, we too must aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related problems. The amount of protective gear firefighters wear today can cause some of the very same symptoms as the people we treat for heat-related problems. The objective of this week’s drill is to review the protocols and procedures for treating injuries and illnesses associated with hot weather.
Howard. A. Chatterton, author of Volunteer Training Drills¿A Year of Weekly Drills, suggests a setup time of at least one hour to review your local protocols for treating heat-related injuries or illnesses. Materials required for the drill include local protocols, locally available transparencies, copies of a pretest for each member, and pencils for each member. Before conducting the drill, review the pretest to make sure you know the answers. Chatterton provides a sample pretest. It covers various heat-related conditions, some of their symptoms, and emergency care procedures for them. You can use his or create your own.
Begin the drill by providing members with the pretest. Following the pretest, review the signs, symptoms, and treatment protocols for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Review procedures for monitoring firefighters during suppression operations or extended operations in hot weather. Review rehab procedures, and emphasize the need for officers to be proactive in evaluating members and not just ask them if they are feeling okay.
At the drill’s conclusion, discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what to do differently next time.
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