How Does This Firefighter Thrive During Those High Heat Situations?
Minneapolis Fire Captain Paul Nemes joined the force over 20 years ago, looking for the life of service he had admired in a friend’s dad who was a firefighter.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he says. “It’s rewarding. It’s a second family. Being a captain or officer on a rig, you’re the first in on a building fire. Whether single-family residence or apartment building, you have the most impact on the greatest number of folks.”
About five years ago, he noticed his weight gain was leaving his knees and hips sore after multiple daily firefighter trips to high-rises. He’s shed 55 pounds – weighing less now in full firefighter gear than he did without the gear before – and the joint problems went away.
“I changed my eating habits, eliminating a few things completely,” he says. “It was time to get exercising. I got into running pretty seriously. I ran my first marathon last year. My goal was to break four hours, which I did.”
The firefighter schedule also leaves free time for Nemes to run a side business as an excavator and landscaper, often spending long, hot days laying 100-150 retaining-wall blocks that weigh 120 pounds each. All three strenuous, sweaty activities – firefighting, running, and landscaping – often left Nemes dehydrated, fatigued, and cramped, no matter how much water or sports drinks he consumed. A friend on the firefighting force introduced him to The Right Stuff.
“I was looking for something to supplement what I was doing,” he says. “It works for me. I use it exclusively for training and the actual racing – marathon, half-marathon, 5K, whatever. I got involved with this product and I go through five or six bottles of water with The Right Stuff in it in the course of an 8-10 hour day laying block. It is night and day. I experienced less fatigue and no muscle cramping or soreness.”
All three strenuous, sweaty activities – firefighting, running, and landscaping – often left Nemes dehydrated, fatigued, and cramped, no matter how much water or other drinks he consumed.
Nemes also uses The Right Stuff at his firefighter job on days with extreme heat or dew points, when suiting up can lead to excess sweating even without a fire to fight.
“We average somewhere between 10 to 14 runs a day,” he says. “Just putting that gear on with the ambient temperatures that high, you’re in a full sweat before you get out to the call. I’ll add The Right Stuff to my water. You still sweat, but you don’t have that fatigue factor as readily, and you don’t end up cramping up. You see it time and time again – these guys go to these fires on a hot day, a hot fire, they come out and they’re cramped up. They end up getting an IV to address their fluid loss. I don’t experience that.”
The International Firefighters Association and others are conducting research to gauge the effects of dehydration on firefighters’ absorption of smoke and other hazards in their work. Those results could mean The Right Stuff’s benefits are even more important, Nemes says.
“I use the product in the fire service, I use it for my training for my running, I use it during the races, and I use it on my days off for strenuous activity, such as the retaining-wall block laying,” he says. “It works for me. I’m sold on it.”