Firefighters go through cases of water while working and wearing their gear. The drive helps replenish their stockpile.

Firefighters go through cases of water while working and wearing their gear. The drive helps replenish their stockpile.

TIFTON — The 9th Annual Water and Gatorade Drive benefitting Tifton and Tift County firefighters has kicked off.

The drive kicked off June 1 and will run through July 31.

Nicole Casey, whose father was a volunteer firefighter, founded and heads up the drive every year.

She started the drive after local firefighters went to help with the forest fires in Waycross in 2010 and she saw firsthand the severe dehydration they developed from the heat of the fires paired with the hot weather.

Dehydration and overheating is a particular hazard for firefighters, especially in the summer months.

Tifton Fire Chief Bobby Bennett said that the protective clothing firefighters wear doesn’t allow for the body to cool itself through sweat evaporation since it’s designed to prevent heat exchange between the layers. Not being able to get cool could lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, particularly when fighting a fire. Both of those heat-related health problems can lead to detrimental physical and mental impacts for an individual who is already in an intense situation, according to Bennett.

The drive is an easy way for the community to help out and say thank you to the people who put their lives on the line to protect people and property, said Casey.

All water and Gatorade donations can be dropped off at any of the following locations:​

1. Tifton Fire Department Main station, located on Forest Avenue in Tifton.​

2. Tifton Fire Department West Station, located on Carpenter Road in Tifton.​

3. Tifton Fire Department North Station, located on Tift Avenue/ Hwy 125 North in Tifton​

For more information or to schedule a pick-up call Casey at (229) 326-0691.

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