SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News)- The heat is a big concern for Salt Lake City firefighters. Mayor Rocky Anderson has implemented a new plan to switch from disposable plastic water bottles to refillable bottles for all city fire fighters, and some are questioning whether or not this new policy will work.
With temperatures in the triple digits, imagine working in this kind of heat dressed in all the protective gear fire fighters have to wear. Water is crucial, but no longer will Salt Lake City fire fighters quench their thirst with individual plastic water bottles.
"Bottled water makes no sense, it's the greatest marketing scam of all time," says Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.
Mayor Anderson is on a mission to save the environment from plastic water bottles. To set an example, he's asked city employees to drink tap water with refillable bottles and glasses - and that includes fire fighters.
"Keeping hydrated before, during and after any incident is a huge concern and a top priority for us. But we do feel that the city's new program is something we should support as long as we can take care of our fire fighters at the same time," explains Jack Tidrow, Salt Lake City fire fighter, Haz Mat Technician and President of the Salt Lake City Fire Fighters Union.
Mayor Anderson assures fire fighters that they won't have to worry about water, "They're going to be well hydrated, there's not going to be an issue about them getting enough water. It's simply the source of the water."
Each emergency truck will be equipped with five gallon containers and every fire fighter will be issued a water bottle that they can keep filling up.
The Unified Fire Agency has looked at implementing a similar policy, but has concerns about refilling bottles at emergency scenes. "I think that the efforts they're taking are good, but there are things we're looking at and we want to be aware and make sure we're doing things for the environment, but one issue we have is if fire fighters are on scene we have to be able to rehabilitate them appropriately and right now for us logistically it's difficult without providing them water bottles on scene," explains Jay Torgersen, spokesman for the Unified Fire Agency.
Many fire fighters ABC 4 News spoke with say they are concerned about getting rid of plastic water bottles at emergency scenes, Tidrow says it's just a matter of getting use to a big change.
Mayor Anderson says if this new program doesn't work, the city will certainly re-visit the issue and fix it.