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Fires aren't the only risk firefighters face

POSTED: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 3:05pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am

COLLEGE STATION -- Every day firefighters put their lives at risk to help save ours.

And as they continue to work overtime during this busy wildfire season, it's not only fires that pose a threat.

A fire can burn up to 2,000 degrees and while the heat and smoke are obvious risk factors, firefighters deal with much more than that on a regular basis.

College Station Assistant Fire Chief, Jon Mies said, "It's strains, shoulders and knees and lungs. I mean, I think if you ask one specific cardiologist in this town, he's going to tell you he's seen an extraordinarily large percentage of otherwise healthy males that have cardiac problems that all just happen to be firefighters."

But if you ask any firefighter, they'll say it's just part of the job and staying healthy has to be a top priority.

"They have to take care of themselves first. If they don't, then they aren't any help to the citizens out there," said Captain Joe Warren.

So Mies says keeping his fire crews healthy starts at the hiring process and continues with regular screenings and checkups throughout the year.

"It's not the short term effects that's going to get you, it's doing it over 30 years," said Mies.

Even though saving lives takes sacrifice, long hours and especially this summer a lot of risk, firefighters understand they can't help anyone if they're injured first.

"We're provided with a full ensemble of protective equipment, including our bunker gear and SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatus) and we have policies in place to make sure we wear our gear on every call and anything to protect us from any hazards," said firefighter, Travis Towers.


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