ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) – Heat from fires is nothing new for first responders, but when the weather adds to that, an already dangerous job comes with more risk.

Wednesday morning the heat index was in the upper 80’s with the humidity rising as Rockford fire crews battled a blaze at Area Salvage and Recycling, 207 Peoples Avenue.

“Half the time, your adrenaline is pumping so much that you don’t even think about it because you have so many tasks to do,” Rockford Fire Department Firefighter, Mike Beier.

After battling the small junkyard fire, Firefighter Mike Beier and his crew took time to cool off. Recent hot and humid weather makes their job tough.

“Try not to be a hero,” said Beier. “Know your own limits, especially in this heat, because at the end of the day, we have to keep our self safe, as well as look out for our crew members.”

In her first year as a firefighter Jennifer Parker says the key is to watch out for each other.

“We’re always checking on each other and making sure we are okay,” said Rockford Fire Department Firefighter, Jennifer Parker. “You know we have our chiefs, and our officers looking over us, to make sure we don’t get to that point and we also have each other.”

“We would really watch the firefighters individually and they start to get overheated,” said Rockford Fire Department District Two Chief Bill Hyde. “We have to watch them and rotate them out. It changes for each individual. One person may not be able to last as long as another person. It just depends on their ability to take the heat and their fitness level.”

For added precaution, an ambulance is kept on standby for the firefighters.

“If we need it, or if they can tell we’re looking flushed, or anything like that, or just out of sorts,” said Beier. “They’ll take us in the back of the ambulance and check our vitals and make sure our blood pressure is good and getting enough water and feeling good and not displaying any heat stroke symptoms, heat stress or anything like that.”

Regardless of the extreme temperatures, firefighters say saving lives trumps the heat they are feeling.

“There’s a lot going on, so we’re always trying to think steps ahead,” said Beier. “So, a lot of times we don’t even think about that heat, until it’s like ‘Whoa I am hot,’ and finally it will set in at some point, but you’re working so hard and doing so much that sometimes it doesn’t even set in.”

For more local news, download the MyStateline app (iOS) or (Android).

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram!