Firefighters preparing ahead of potentially record-breaking heatwave in Fresno

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FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – While we try to escape the heat indoors, firefighters are preparing to head straight in.

The Fresno Fire Department says there is a lot of preparation work underway to make sure that firefighters are staying safe during this heatwave.  

“We’ve got over 3,200 fires since January 1st, which is a pace we’ve never been on,” explained Shane Brown of the Fresno Fire Department.

Now, there are concerns that the potentially record-breaking heat being forecasted this week could fuel an already busy year for firefighters in the city.

Brown says that gearing up for a heatwave starts before crews come in for their 48-hour shifts.

“They’re going to start early in the morning, they’re going to adjust everything. They’re going to adjust what they eat that day, you know, they’re going to limit their cardiovascular exercise that day,” explained Brown.

At the scene of a fire, Brown says more crews are cycled through to allow firefighters time to rest.

“An average firefighter that weighs 180, 190 pounds can weigh well over 300 pounds once wearing all their gear, carrying equipment,” said Brown. “That’s why they also rely on the Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT.”

CERT is a group of volunteers who set up rehab stations for firefighters with shade, refreshments, and wet towels.

As firefighters continue to prepare for this heatwave, residents also have to do their part by not setting off illegal fireworks. 

Even with last year’s confiscation of more than 500 pounds of illegal fireworks, Brown says it barely made a dent.

The fireworks are increasing fire danger, especially during the heatwave.

“You know many people lost their homes last year of fires. I mean, we had a combat vet that, that lost his home, you know luckily for him and his dog was saved during the fire, and he was very grateful for that, but he lost his home in the process just because someone wanted to be selfish and shoot an aerial firework, you know,” said Brown.

Residents can report illegal fireworks in their neighborhood on the Fres-Go app.

You can find more information on how to volunteer for CERT over on its website.

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