BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — The summer heat is here, and volunteer firefighters in Baldwin County are doing all they can to stay hydrated. Thanks to donations, firefighters are receiving cases of bottled water and Gatorade.
“That water is going to be used on the firetrucks to provide water for the firefighters and first responders. It makes you feel good the community is doing that,” Stapleton firefighter Brent Pugh said.
More than a dozen volunteer fire departments serve the communities of Baldwin County. State guidelines restrict the way tax dollars can be used, and unless drinks are donated, these volunteers have to come out of pocket to stay hydrated.
“That money has to come from somewhere in order to purchase that water,” Pugh said.
Water and Gatorade are the big items needed right now. Pugh tells WKRG News 5 they’re filling up coolers each time a truck rolls out on a call.
“Heatstroke is a real possibility. It really takes a lot out of you. It takes your energy away really quickly and when you’re doing something like fighting a fire it’s really strenuous work. You wear down really fast. You really need to stay hydrated,” Pugh said.
Bottled water or Gatorade donations can be dropped off at any volunteer fire department. Food, drinks, and appliances are just a few of the items volunteer firefighters can’t purchase with tax dollars in Alabama.
Daniel Smith was a volunteer firefighter at Stapleton VFD but passed away in 2017. Each year, T-shirts are sold in his honor to help raise money for drinks so departments in Baldwin County can keep them in stock more often.