Even on the coldest days, firefighters are battling temperatures anywhere between 700 to 1000 degrees when they go to work.
This is where the Heart of Texas Fire Corps come in to supply cooling vests, water, fans – anything to help keep firefighters cool.
Now the group needs your help because donations are running out with all of the fire calls.
In the last two months alone, the Heart of Texas Fire Corps has received three times the number of calls they got last year – meaning they are using a lot more supplies and donations to help firefighters.
“What we do, we go out and provide rehab to first responders. A lot of people go ‘Rehab?’ like did they hurt themselves, rehab. No. What we do, we try to get their body back into pre-incident status. We provide them cooling during this time of year. We provide them shade. Usually some cool air-blown air across, and then we do medical monitoring to make sure all their vital signs are good,” explains Heart of Texas Fire Corps Commander Jeff Wilhelm.
They put up white tents with cooling vests inside, in addition to water and air conditioning. They also provide electrolytes and non-melting snacks.
“Our electrolyte replacement, we use one that is called ‘Sqwincher.’ It comes in small packets. We can put it in the water. It’s a lot easier to carry it, and the firefighters really like it on how it protects their body and how they digest it,” Wilhelm says.
The Heart of Texas Fire Corps covers 27 fire departments in McLennan County, and also helps with Bosque County and Falls County.
Covering such a large area really takes a toll on their supplies, and they don’t get any money from the government. So they count on donations.
“We can go through quite a bit in one full day. One weekend here, we made four calls in one weekend, we went through….the electrolyte comes in 50, in a bag, and we went through five bags in one weekend,” Wilhelm explains. “We have gone to a couple of Bosque County calls here in the last couple of months, where we have been out for 12-13 hours.”
They are also looking for any volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, the training location is located at 7271 Bagby Avenue and is the third Monday of every month, except in December.
If you would like to donate, the location is once again, 7271 Bagby Avenue. Donations needed the most right now are water, Sqwinchers, supplies for their trucks, tables, chairs and snacks like peanut butter crackers or gummy snacks.