During a rigorous extrication / rescue training scenario a firefighter became overheated and dehydrated. FF was complaining of chest pain radiating to the back, neck, and left arm. This progressed to confusion and severe headache prior to the arrival of ALS transport. The firefighter was not overweight and was regularly active. The weather was warm and all participants were wearing full bunker gear PPE. Drinkning water was provided and the firefighter stated to officers he had consumed 3 bottles of water in the last hour. This was later found to be false, likely due to the firefighter’s confusion and disorientation. The firefighter was transported to the local hospital, was administered 2L of NS fluid and returned home without further defect.
Safety and training officers are responsible for more than ensuring firefighter don’t kill themselves with unsafe acts. Although water was provided for all participants, officers should be ensuring that all participants consume an adequate amount of fluids. Furthermore, firefighters must know their limits and stop before they get to a point of endangering the mission of the rest of the department. Like driving safely to the station or the scene, a dead or injured firefighter is worse for the outcome of the incident than no firefighter at all!