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Tooele County firefighters try to stay cool, beat the heat

Posted at 8:14 PM, Jul 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-17 22:14:27-04

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah — Some areas of the Beehive State are dealing with record high temperatures on Sunday.

Salt Lake City tied its all-time highest temperature on record at 107 degrees.

100-degree temperatures were also felt in parts of Tooele County.

The North Tooele Fire District is responsible for 1,700 square miles.

"Which is roughly the size of Rhode Island," said Jon Smith, a public information officer for the department.

Smith said they've worked about 600 calls so far in 2022 — some big and some small.

"We've been dealing with the Jacob City Fire, you know, which is 4,000 acres," he said. "It has more than 480 firefighters on it, so we handle big, large events like that to someone falling off a jungle gym."

READ: Latest wildfire information from across Utah

With the hot temperatures being seen across Utah in mid-July, Smith says this is something they prepare for.

"We train for this year-round," he said. "We do our PT [physical training] in the heat, we do our PT in the cold, we run, we march, we hike, we do a lot of physical training, as well as procedural training."

Whether it's gearing up to fight a fire in town or tackle a wildfire, Smith says firefighters in his district are always watching each other's backs.

"We're seeing if anyone is showing signs of heat exhaustion or excessive heat, stuff like that, and when that happens, you know, you've got to get yourself out of that gear, you've got to get yourself out of those clothes and get yourself some fluid," said Smith. "The key is to drink water before you're thirsty."

Smith told FOX 13 News that he wants to remind everyone to be fire aware right now.

He's asking people in Tooele County and elsewhere to make sure they aren't leaving their campfires unattended.

Smith is also urging drivers not to drag chains along the road or use hot brakes. He also says if you have car trouble, don't pull over into the hot grass.

He said if they can prevent fires before they have to fight them, it will make for a better summer for everyone.