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Hydration Tips

A fire fighter’s job requires two things: fire and water.

Putting water on the fire is equally as important as hydrating after hours battling a fire. Fire fighting is a physically demanding job that requires endurance and stamina. Throughout thechaos of running calls, it is extremely important to always have a bottle of water handy.

According to Firefighter Nation (2011), exercising can cause people to lose on average between 8-16 ounces of water within an hour, and a fire fighter could lose as much as 50 to 70 ounces in sweat in just 30-45 minutes of fire fighting activity.

That’s why fire fighters must pay close attention to their water consumption. According to the World Health Organization, 8-10 glasses of watershould be consumed daily to maintain a normal hydration level. Fire fighter should consume even more fluids.

You can determine how hydrated you are by looking at the color of yoururine. Normal hydration levels should produce a pale yellow color. If needed, sports drinks can boost electrolyte levels and energy better than just water alone. Ultimately, you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of fluids.

For optimal job performance, fire fighters need to be hydrated before, during and after running a call. Listed below are some helpful tips about staying hydrated provided by Firefighter Nation (2011):

Prior to Fireground Operations (or exercise)

  • Drink at least 16 oz. of water a hour before operations/exercise to ensure your fluid levels are up to par. If you're dehyrated prior to exercise, try to consume 32 oz. of water.

  • Drink 8-10 fl. oz. 10-15 minutes.

During Fireground Operations (or exercise)

  • Drink cool (40 degrees F), dilute fluids at a minimum rate of at leasdt 8 oz. every 15 minutes or 34 oz. per hour. Those who are dehyrated must drink 8 oz. every 10 minutes or 50 oz. per hour.

  • Drink 8-10 oz. every 10-15 minutes.

  • If exercising longer than 90 minutes, drink 8-10 oz. of a sports drink (with no more than 8% carbohydrate) every 15-30 minutes.

After Fireground Operations (or exercise)

  • If the exercise (fireground activity) lasts for less than an hour, the body should have sufficient electrolyte and carbohydrate supplies to maintain optimal performance. Therefore, for short periods of exercise, water is just as good as sports drinks.

  • If exercise (fireground activity) lasts for more than an hour, use a sports drink with electrolytes and carbohydrates along with water to rehydrate the body.

  • Weigh yourself before and after exercise and replace fluid losses, drink 20-24 oz. of water for every pound lost.

  • If no water was consumed during exercise (fireground operations), aggressively rehydrate at a rate of 16 oz. of fluid every 15-20 minutes.