SARATOGA, Texas — Life as a volunteer firefighter is never easy, and the hot and sticky summer months only make the job harder for a multitude of reasons.
“Here in Southeast Texas, temperatures can be extreme,” Sam Lewis, fire marshal at the Saratoga Volunteer Fire Department, said. “I think we're pushing 91 right now, and it's just going to get hotter.”
Firefighters need water to not only fight fires and protect the community but also to stay hydrated as they work under the hot sun and in intense heat.
Volunteer firefighter departments depend more on donations. More than half of Texas fire departments are made of brave people volunteering to risk their lives to save others.
"It's quite exhausting for a firefighter to be out in conditions like we have today,” Lewis said.
The people always helping Southeast Texas are asking Southeast Texas for help. The department recently posted to its Facebook page asking for donations of water, Gatorade, Powerade, Propel, and other liquids to help crews stay hydrated.
"To just kind of get the word out and spread to our community not only for our department but for neighboring departments also,” Lewis said. "Temperatures and stuff rising. It's getting hotter, so we're going through more water every day."
The heavy equipment that firefighters have to wear only adds to the struggle.
“On average, gear is about 45 pounds, and if you add in radio equipment, other technology, that can double it,” Lewis said. “Close to 80 pounds. Most firefighters say a day on the job, is like running a marathon."
As the temperatures rise, first responders are asking the public to consider donating. Lewis said donations help firefighters help the community.
“We use it, but it's not just for us," Lewis said. "If we have a victim or something that just come out of a house, or somebody on the side of the road, we use this to aid them, too."
Volunteers will be at the Saratoga Volunteer Fire Station on May 21, 2022, from 7 a.m. to noon for anyone who would like to drop off donations. It's located at 16628 Farm to Market Rd 770 in Saratoga.