Dothan Fire Dept. fights fires and heat

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- Fighting fires in extreme heat cause problems and when Dothan firefighters had to battle a house fire on Tuesday, the team credited their success to a comprehensive rehab system.

The comprehensive rehab system is set up inside a truck. It's sent out to all emergency, training, and special events that put crews at risk.

Crews had no trouble getting the fire under control Tuesday morning. But to do it, they battled dangerous heat and that's why the rehab system is essential.

"The premise of the unit is it has a very comprehensive list of equipment and tools on it to help ensure safety and health of the firefighters," Dothan Fire Department Training/EMS Battalion Chief, Sean Gibson said.

Although the system has been around for years, the fire department continues to grow and improve it. Adding more elements that help them in emergency situations such as hydration, cleaning, heating, and cooling.

The rehab unit is a formal area where firefighters check-in and get a medical assessment of their vitals and temperatures while fighting fires. The newest addition to the system is cancer prevention.

"Cancer is a true threat to firefighters. And what we've learned is after a fire it's really important to clean ourselves even before we get back to our stations and take showers. Because after a fire there's a lot of work yet to be done before you can actually go in and take a shower," Gibson said.

Adding strict personal and gear cleaning as well as air monitoring systems can help with the prevention of different types of cancer and diseases.

But the Dothan Fire Department is not the only group that benefits from this system, the Dothan Police Department is another agency that has a different version of its emergency plan. And as you can imagine on an extremely hot day, these systems could be useful for both departments.

The police department's plan in emergency situations consists of setting up perimeters and mandatory breaks for the officers on duty. Rotating these roles each hour is crucial.

"Oh it's imperative, I can tell you from years of being on the road this uniform draws heat. When you combine that with ballistic vest and all that it just really kick your core temperature up. And this time of year in the middle of summer, its no piece of cake standing in the middle of an intersection," Dothan Police Department Patrol Services Captain, Todd David said.

Although the 2 departments have different systems their common goal is to protect emergency responders and serve the community.

The 2 departments tell us they continually update their plans and add new tools.

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