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I'm currently going through the Fire Academy in South Florida. Training has involved such drills as ladders, search & rescue, SCBA evolutions, and hose drills.

It has been extremely hot lately, and I've been suffering from severe dehydration. This is mainly happening on Saturdays when we're out on the drill field for approx. 8 hrs with rehab stations every 1 - 2 hours, and a one hour lunch break at mid day.

My headaches are starting around 1500 - 1600 hrs, with nasuea and vomiting shortly there after. It seems I'm unable to addequately hydrate. I'm prehydrating 24 hrs in advance as well as constantly drinking water throughout training evolutions. Occasionally I'll drink a half-and-half mixture of gatoraid and water at some point during the day.

I'm looking for advice, on staying hydrated. ie. what type of sports drink is commonly used: gatoraid (50% half-and-half mix or 100%), poweraid, propel water, etc. Also, are there any recommended supplements (like salt tablets or something) that I may benefit from?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

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In that kind of environment, you should be drinking 4-6 oz of water or Gatorade every 15 minutes or after every rep. Refer your trainers to your Medical Director or NFPA 1584, Recommended Practice on the Rehabilitation of Members Operating at Incident Scene Operations and Training Exercises. You should also be given a chance to cool off a little while the rig is getting turned around.

Every year Fire trainees get taken to the hospital and/or die because of heat related injury. These are preventable and should be of primary concern to trainers and Safety Officers.

Follow this link to an article in Fire Engineering:

Safe training is no accident,

Lots of research available on the benefits of frequent and periodic hydration and cooling. NFPA 1584 is a good guideline. You need to do your own research and make recommendations to Academy staff. Make sure that you have enough salt and potassium which, a shortage of, can cause your symptoms of headache. Also the academy needs to have a rehab unit staffed with EMT's to monitor core temperature and blood pressure. Academy training should occur in the early mornings and evenings (cool periods) in turnout gear and during the hottest part of the day, classroom drills or drills in your day uniforms and helmets. There are many cases of firefighters and college/High School athletes with core temperatures over 105 suffeing serious consequences. Your symptoms of nausea and vomiting can also be caused by your core temperature is too high (Hyperthermia), the lack of salt and potassium. Over hydration with water only can cause hyponatremia with the same set of symptoms. These are dangerous symptoms and more frequent breaks are recommendation with cooling and hydration stations.


It takes approximately 20 minutes for your body to absorb 8 ounces of water. It is not unheard of for a firefighter to perspire a gallon of water every hour and if breaks are coming every 1-2 hours, it won't be long before you are dry. That is why I require students to carry a clear water jug to training with them and sip continuously. If this practice is allowed I would definately do it. If it is not allowed, you may want to reconsider the validity of your training. Be safe brother.

Look at the recently released NFPA 1584 guidelines Rehabilitation and Medical Monitoring. Your Fire Chief, if a member of the IAFC, should have received this document last week.


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