ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — Triple-digit heat has arrived in the St. Louis area this week. The dangerous weather poses an even greater risk for area firefighters. 

“It’s like walking into a brick oven,” said Dep. Chief Jason Meinershagen, Central County Fire & Rescue. “It just hits you.” 

That’s one reason a group of volunteers formed in 2015. REHAB 95 partners with Central County Fire & Rescue by responding to working house fires with iced water and Gatorade.  

Volunteers provide cold towels and create a cooling area with a circle of fans. In addition to keeping first responders cool and hydrated, they also provide help for survivors of fires and other disasters. 

“This is our way to give back to the community,” said Terri Violet, REHAB 95 senior team leader.

She has been volunteering with REHAB 95 since 2016.

“They love doing it just because they love giving back to their community,” said Meinershagen. “That is extremely refreshing, and it’s very appreciated.” 

John Saunders is a REHAB 95 senior team leader. He said the work done by volunteers is repaid through the reward they experience. 

“Taking care of the residents that are standing on the side of the street with sometimes nothing, the value is immense,” said Saunders. 

Volunteers now respond to working fires throughout St. Charles County. Saunders said neighboring communities are also interested in learning more about how the program operates. 

For more information about REHAB 95, visit https://centralcountyfire.org/residents/rehab-95/