BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – The sun is out and the temperatures are warming up. Volunteer firefighters in Baldwin County are preparing for the summer heat.

“Right now we are stocking up our coolers. We make trips to Sam’s to keep the coolers with water and ice,” said Cory Daniels with the Styx River Volunteer Fire Department Wednesday.

The heat index Wednesday is rising and by Thursday some areas could see a heat index of 105 degrees or higher. That makes this job even more dangerous when you factor in the 50-75lbs worth of heavy gear and the intense flames these firefighters battle.

“You need to rest and take a breather and then send the other crew in and then swap them out. Have everything already ready in the trucks and iced down. We keep coolers iced down with Gatorade, water anytime because 24/7 is our call,” he explained.

Keeping cool will be a little easier this year, at least on some of the larger calls for The Styx River Volunteer Fire Department. They’re preparing to utilize a new mobile command unit that’s air-conditioned, has refrigerators and it also has freezers inside to make sure everyone stays safe on the job. When firefighters feel weak they can take a break inside.

“Very fatigued, tired, worn out and you just take your gear off and cool off as fast as you can so you can get back in it,” said Daniels.

Resting and staying hydrated are key to their safety. Volunteer fire departments in Alabama aren’t allowed to use tax money to purchase water or Gatorade, so they rely on donations and use their own money to stock up. They say it’s even more important this time of year to donate to your local volunteer fire department if you can help.