Fire Service College improves hydration with ice cubes

Published:  18 June, 2018

The Fire Service College has been pioneering hydration and cooling techniques by providing firefighters with ice cubes.

Exposure to high temperatures and arduous activities during firefighting training can have effects on the human body due to raised core body temperatures.

For firefighters battling the blaze, or members of instructional staff supervising them, any type of relief from the heat can make a significant difference. One of the specialist institutions central to the development of making improvements to safety in these arduous conditions is the Fire Service College. The Cotswolds-based College is the home of firefighter development, with one of the world’s largest operational fire and rescue training facilities.

At the heart of the Moreton-in-Marsh, site provides learners with the opportunity to train and exercise in a realistic and challenging environment in preparation for many of the situations that they could face in the field, from domestic building fires to road traffic collisions, and everything in between. Leading the way for the welfare and well-being of learners and staff on campus is Health and Safety officer, Bryan Gregory.

As part of his role, Gregory is heavily involved in the preparation routine of those he is overseeing. 'The welfare and safety of our learners and staff are extremely important parts of our activities at the College,' he says. 'Amongst the most important forms of our safety and welfare are our hydration procedures.'

Water and ice dispensers are situated throughout the campus, with the Breathing Apparatus School using a Scotsman TC180 ice dispenser to keep participants cool and hydrated.

Being hydrated has always been vital for those fighting fire. Over time the College has conducted on-site tests and worked with external bodies in the quest to pioneer the most effective hydration techniques. One such study has seen the College in partnership with the University of Brighton.

Bryan and several other instructors participated in a study that involved a series of tests, which recorded how hydration and core body temperature are affected while carrying out firefighting duties. Gregory says: 'Subsequently we have found out that by actually absorbing ice into the stomach prior to, during and after firefighting, the core body temperature of the firefighter or instructor is far better controlled and their performance and recovery are improved.'

As a result of this study, it became clear that the College could improve the performance and welfare of staff and learners with an ice maker that would produce ice that their bodies could quickly absorb. 'The process of finding the right machine was done carefully, we took time making our decision and we tried a few different ice solutions, bringing machines onto the site,' he says. After talking to Hubbard, the College trialled a Scotsman TC180. 'We soon saw it was the right direction to go. Over the past eight months, it has demonstrated its worth and is helping us to achieve our welfare goals.'

A counter-top, sealed unit, the TC180 is able to produce 135kg of ‘Cubelet’ ice – a small, dry cube - over a 24 hour period, a capacity that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Gregory. 'It’s able to deliver the volume we need – at times we have 50 firefighters queuing up for ice and it keeps up with that.'

The condensed size of the ice cube has also impressed him. 'The size of the ice is very important. We need the firefighters to actually absorb the ice and to eat it, rather than just drinking a cold drink, and, in my eyes, the cubelet is ideal for this. It works well with the drinking bottles we provide to our staff and learners.'

One of the most important roles that the TC180 plays is in the preservation of the welfare of those subjected to extreme temperatures. Bryan says that he has noticed a difference in the ability of learners to handle the heat and to recover after an exposure.
'Since using the ice, we’ve managed to enhance the health and welfare of our staff and learners across the board; over the summer months in particular,' he says. 'Absorption of ice also assists in recovery when staff or learners show signs of a heat-induced illness.'

  • Operation Florian

Sign up: eMagazine & eNewsletter

The latest issues in your inbox.

Company Profiles

Renka´s Fire Engine No. 1

Firefighting, fast, safe, everywhere. Michael Renka GmbH, based in Germany, is a manufacturer of firefighting vehicles, pumps and rescue equipment.

Waterax - We move water

Trusted by wildland firefighters around the world, WATERAX sets the industry standard by developing innovative, portable fire pumps and water-handling equipment designed to withstand demanding applications and rugged environments.

Big Water Flow for Industrial and Municipal Firefighting Applications

Protecting the lives of the public and firefighters while limiting the structural damage caused in large scale fires is our primary mission

We are committed to improving lives and doing business in the right way

We have a unique mix of capability and culture that we refer to as 3M Science and we strive to develop products that improve people’s daily lives in a multitude of ways.

HazSim - Bringing situational HazMat training to life

HazSim, LLC provides innovative simulation training to ensure your team works safely and effectively. HazSim Pro simulation equipment is in use by hundreds of fire departments, training schools, industrial fire teams, and private trainers across the US, Canada and further afield as well as the US Army.

The ultimate in innovation, quality and service

For 60 years Lehavot has been delivering the world’s most advanced fire detection and suppression automatic systems

Advancing rescue technology

The specialist supplier of quality PPE and Rescue Equipment to Emergency Services.

Revolutionizing fire fighting foam technology

The one-stop resource for fire fighting foam concentrates and custom-designed foam suppression systems hardware.

Trust the best, let us be your foam solution

AUXQUIMIA is a Spanish company whose main activity is the design, manufacture and commercialization of firefighting foam concentrates.

Williams Fire & Hazard Control offers a full line of specialized fire response equipment for oil and gas platforms

From storage tanks and pipeline emergencies to offshore platforms and vessels at sea, Williams' response personnel and specialized equipment quickly address adverse fire emergencies.

The leader in truck-mounted hydraulic platforms

Our mission is to provide the best and the safest solution to professionals that work at height.

If you want quality, you want Zico

Since its inception Ziamatic Corp has provided the men and women of the fire service with products designed to make their jobs safer and easier.

The independent alternative

Dafo Fomtec AB is a privately owned company with head office in Stockholm Sweden and manufacturing in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden.