How firefighters keep their cool on hot days

There have been a number of house fires in the metro Atlanta area over the past couple of days. The hot weather can take a toll on firefighters battling blazes.

"This is a brutal time of year for firefighters," said Cobb County Fire Lt. Steve Bennett.

Part of the problem is what they have to wear just to do their jobs. They put on 80 pounds of gear and heavy clothing.

"We're wearing what looks like a snow coat, snow pants, boots," said Lt. Bennett.

That clothing includes a thermal layer to protect them from flames.

"As you can imagine something designed to keep the heat out is not going to let heat escape very well," said Lt. Bennett.

Add in the physical intensity it takes to battle a fire and it could be very dangerous.

That's why on hot days, extra crews respond to fires so they can rotate people often, allowing more breaks to rest  and rehydrate.

Trucks are stocked with plenty of water and misting fans are set up.

They also have what they call a Rapid Immersion Cooling Unit.

"It's a really fancy way of saying we have PVC tubes with ice and water in them," said Lt. Bennett.

All they have to do is stick their hands and forearms into the tubes for 20 to 30 seconds.

"You'd be surprised at how much your core temperature is cooled with just placing your hand and forearm inside ice and water.  You can actually feel your core temperature going down," said Lt. Bennett.

All of this keeps firefighters going even on the hottest days.