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Volunteer Fire Chiefs Across Oklahoma Plead For Gatorade

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Chiefs of volunteer fire departments in Oklahoma are asking the public to donate Gatorade. Chiefs of volunteer fire departments in Oklahoma are asking the public to donate Gatorade.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Fire chiefs of volunteer departments across the state say firefighters are in desperate need of the public's help. They are making a plea to the public for donations of Gatorade.

Volunteer firefighters have been going out on several calls a day, battling fires in triple-digit heat. That has depleted resources and budgets, and some departments have had to choose between gas for their fire trucks and water for their firefighters.

View a complete list of firefighting departments in Oklahoma

Fire chiefs say over the past couple weeks several firefighters have been treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration.

"Everybody broadcasts stay out of the heat, stay inside, but we don't get that option when the alarm goes we have to respond," said Chief Bruce Anthony, with the Tuttle police department.

And that heat coupled with dry conditions means firefighters have been extremely busy.

"A lot of these guys are used to making one run a week. Now most of them are running two to four runs a day," said Chief Mike Norman with the Amber Fire Department.

That is depleting budgets to critical levels.

"When you have to choose between buying gas and water, you have to buy gas for the rigs," Chief Anthony said.

"We're down to five to six cases of water at the station," Chief Brandon Sanders with the Verden Fire Department added.

But in these conditions, even a bottle of water may not be enough.

"We can drink a lot of water, but it doesn't replenish what we need in our bodies. The Gatorade is a sure sign to keep the guys hydrated and keep them hydrated and going on these long duration fire scenes," Chief Norman said.

So now those who usually are the ones responding to calls for help are making one.

"It could be a life or death situation, guys are in desperate need not only my department, but state-wide," Chief Norman said.

Gatorade, which firefighters say does a better job at helping firefighters stay hydrated, is too expensive.

Fire chiefs are asking for the public's help. Anyone who wants to donate Gatorade can drop it off at the firehouse of your nearest volunteer department.

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