As chief of the Westbrook Fire Department and on behalf of the entire Westbrook Fire & Rescue Department, I would like to thank Poland Spring for once again donating a pallet of bottled water for our agency. The support of bottled water from Poland Springs ensures that our first responders – our firefighters, police officers and EMS professionals remain hydrated during incidents, especially those that are prolonged.
You may not be aware, but nearly half of the firefighters who die from duty-related deaths do not occur in fires or building collapse, but from heart attacks and other acute coronary syndromes, most within 24 hours of the time the fire alarm sounds. Being a firefighter is inherently dangerous and studies now show that the intrinsic physical demands and stress of firefighting are causing more of our firefighters to be dehydrated. In fact, many of our firefighters are dehydrated before they start their shift, which sets them up for even more strain on their bodies. Everyone knows we should drink more water, but many of us still struggle to drink the daily recommended amount. The Westbrook Fire Department is focusing on firefighter health and wellness and staying hydrated is one of our focuses. We have seen a cultural shift away from coffee and soft drinks with emphasis on water consumption for that very reason.
Our firefighters frequently wear 60 pounds or more of protective clothing and gear. This causes our core body temperatures to rise and our heart rates to increase drastically – causing an increased risk for sudden cardiac death. And although firefighters are generally in good shape, often times this job demands our body to do something very stressful and it is imperative to be hydrated – and stay hydrated.
The benefits of water really do save lives and we are very fortunate to have Poland Springs offering water to not only our fire department but to all of the departments around the State of Maine.
Once again, we thank Poland Spring for providing us with this bottled water.
Chief, Westbrook Fire Department