Hydration for firefighters

“Working as a wildland firefighter your body gets taken to its ultimate limit. With the combination of 35°C degree heat, long shifts, and pounding smoke knocking on your lungs’ doors, it should come to no surprise that your body is drained of electrolytes and water. DripDrop quickly brought me back to life.”

Arrowhead Hotshot

Supercharge your water

Firefighters face unique risks of dehydration and related Exertional Heat Injuries. Prolonged, strenuous training and work environments–combined with high temperatures and personal protective equipment–are a recipe for fluid and electrolyte loss for even the most careful firefighters.

Severe EHI can be life-threatening and require medical attention. The cost burden includes loss of manpower, back-filling shifts, evacuation and/or treatment fees as well as the threat of OSHA fines.

Firefighters & the threat of dehydration

Research has concluded that working firefighters should anticipate losing 1.5-2 litres of sweat in 30–45 minutes of fireground activity. For context, under normal circumstances the human body loses about 1-2.5 litres of water a day through body waste, sweat and breathing.

The body loses both fluid and electrolytes through sweat. The predominant electrolyte lost through sweat is sodium, though potassium and magnesium loss also occurs. As these losses mount over prolonged periods of exertion, it is not possible to rehydrate with water alone. Symptoms of dehydration can include cramps, fatigue, headaches, confusion and nausea. Extreme dehydration symptoms can include convulsions, vomiting, rapid or weak pulse, and coma.

As an US Orange County Fire Authority study noted, “improper re-hydration can negatively impact performance and decision-making… critical components of the firefighting profession.” The OCFA study reported that 91% of the test subjects were at least partially dehydrated upon reporting for training; 59% lost at least 2% of fluid body weight during an intense 30 minute drill. Because most subjects planned to rehydrate using water alone, the study concluded education was necessary to ensure that key electrolytes like sodium and potassium were also being replaced.

When water & sports drinks aren’t enough

The best solution to dehydration is prevention.

Under normal conditions, firefighters can maintain proper fluid and electrolyte balance with water and diet alone. DripDrop ORS is intended for extreme hydration occasions where water or sport drinks alone are not enough to replace fluid and electrolyte loss.

Examples of high risk activities that firefighters face:

  • Strenuous physical training or job tasks over long time periods e.g. >60-90 minutes where loss of both fluid and electrolytes mount
  • The above activities over multiple days or combined with personal protective equipment and/or heavy loads
  • While heat illness can occur all year round, temperatures above 24ºC degrees increase risk

Breakthrough hydration for firefighters

With 3X the electrolytes of sports drinks, firefighters are turning to the proven science of DripDrop ORS to address fluid and electrolyte depletion.

DripDrop is based on the well-proven science of the World Health Organization ORS formula. However, the relevant sodium content of traditional ORS meant that it tasted like a glass of seawater. DripDrop is a revolution in ORS because it tastes great – which means firefighters will actually use it. A 2016 American OCFA trial concluded that DripDrop ORS improved recovery of lost body weight after high impact training 73% better than the existing standard of care. Another 2016 study concluded that in terms of keeping fluid in the body longer, ORS hydrated 50% better than water alone and that sports drinks were only slighter better than water. Research has concluded that ORS even outperforms IV in all measured outcomes, including time and cost.  

Those That Serve Are Turning To DripDrop ORS

Users throughout government agencies have adopted DripDrop to prevent and treat heat casualties including: Hotshot teams, LACoFD, OCFA, CALFire, NSW, MARSOC, Army Special Forces, and men and women in uniform everywhere that have extreme hydration needs. Effectiveness, ease-of-use and portability make DripDrop ORS ideal for operational use. Users consistently report that DripDrop helps dramatically reduce heat injuries and contributes to optimizing operational readiness.

DripDrop Orders + Samples

If you are a firefighter or represent a fire crew looking to place an order, you can contact us by email at info@dripdrop.co.za.

If you would like more information or to request samples, please contact us.