First responders face busy weekend as heat-related calls pour in

The heat dominated the weekend across the DMV with warnings from officials, cancelations and people doing all they could to stay cool.

But that’s not really an option for the people trying to keep us safe.

On Sunday, FOX 5’s David Kaplan visited the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department on how these first responders braved the heat to do an important job. 

"We knew it was going to be the hottest day of the year," said Aiden Chornock, a volunteer firefighter of three years. 

In response to a FOX 5 inquiry Saturday about how many heat-related calls they’d been on, a Montgomery County fire official responded when the temperature is this hot, they’re all heat-related calls.

"We got there, did what we had to do, put the fire out," Chornock said. "And luckily, we all got back home safe." 

Chornock was at the scene of a house fire after a call around 3:30 p.m. Saturday. In the afternoon heat of a historically hot day, Chornock hydrated heavily and was ready to go.

"It was hot, but we were able to cool down," he told FOX 5. 

They were able to cool down in part thanks to Danielle Thomas. 

For 18 years, she’s helped out at the canteen and was pressed into action this weekend as part of a plan to protect firefighters by keeping them hydrated and getting them what they need, which happened twice Saturday.

"We do what we can. Whatever they need, that’s kind of what we want to do," Thomas said. 

We say the Gatorade, water, ice and cold towels that are all integral to first responders.

"It’s urgent," Thomas said. "To me it’s hot, it’s over 100 degrees, and then they’re in there fighting a fire, which is even worse."

That was proven time and again over the weekend. 

"Yesterday was an extremely busy day," said Rockville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Craig Lazar. 

Lazar had double the staff as normal on Saturday, and higher levels Sunday to help rotate bodies if needed. He also made the call to press this canteen into action for the weekend.

He’s glad he did.

"Fires don’t stop happening and calls don’t stop happening even when the weather gets unbearable like it’s been this weekend. We still have to be there and we still go out on the calls and do what we’re going to do," Lazar said. 

 Sunday wound up being much quieter than Saturday and after the heat and conditions the firefighters had to deal with, that was just fine by them.