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Hydrating for the future: Fire department holds water drive to help crews stay healthy

OKLAHOMA CITY -- For firefighters, the heat and flames are hard enough to deal with. But sometimes, their bodies are short on one thing—water

“It’s a godsend to all of us," said Assistant Chief Duane Dahlem with the Twin Lakes Fire Department. "I was in some training the other day at one of the other departments, asked if they had some water, 'we’re out!'”

And the lack of water can be a big problem.

“One of the main injuries that firefighters receive are heat injuries," said Tina Lewis with the Deer Creek Fire Department. "The biggest way to mitigate that risk is with cold water."

But some crews have to choose between equipment and drinking water.

“Some of our smaller departments friends may not have the means to purchase water to put on the rigs," said Assistant Fire Chief Michael Montgomery with the Deer Creek Fire Department.

That's why Lewis organized a water drive in the Lowe's parking lot on the city's north side.

“We kind of put together this idea of bringing multiple departments together and asking the public for some donations for water and Gatorade and snacks," she said.

About 400 cases of water were donated by businesses and the public. Several other departments also collected water, including departments from Luther, Oak Cliff and Richland.

It's a good feeling.

"I’m almost speechless because of the kindness, care, and thankfulness that the Oklahomans have for us," said Dahlem.

“Just getting a nice cold bottle of water, it makes you feel better," said Montgomery."

Organizers hope this event will start a trend across Oklahoma.