Volunteers Help Keep Firefighters Safe In Extreme Temperatures

Posted at 6:31 PM, Jul 15, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Work doesn't stop for firefighters, not even when heat indices top 100 degrees which has been known to make doing their job even more dangerous. A group of volunteers has always been by their side, making sure they stay hydrated.

“What you can see we have in here, this is for us to restock on a fire,” Box 55 volunteer Mattie Mayo said while pointing to the Gatorade. “We've got the ever popular cheesy crackers, trail mix, things like that. Little Debbie cakes are good because they're quick sugar and can get the guys going back.”

It's important to stay fully stocked because at a moment’s notice the scanners could off.

“It's kind of funny, I've done this for almost fifteen years,” Mayo said about the feeling when a call goes out. “Average 100 to 110 fires a year. But you still get gassed up just a little bit.”

He’s among those who answer the call. They're not the firefighters but volunteers with the Box 55 Association who have provided food and drinks for firefighters while out on scenes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“It's just a way to help the firefighters,” volunteer Luis Del Rio said. “Don't get any money out of it, just the pleasure of helping them.”

In extreme temperatures their services have been especially vital.

“If I sent you into a room for 20 minutes. It was anywhere between 900 and 1200 degrees. You've got 90 pounds of gear on. You're just surrounded by heat. You come outside. It's still heat index of 105. It's pretty dagum important to get Gatorade,” Mayo added.

For 63 years the volunteers have been right by firefighter's sides. Many have had no prior experience battling the flames.

“I was a school teacher for Metro Public School system for 30 years,” Del Rio said.

Just ask around and you'll quickly see they're still a part of the team.

Box 55 has been a non-profit organization that has relied solely on donations. For more information, click here