It was 104 degree and the sun was beating down on Howard Pechter, a Southern California Fire Captain. In the midst of fighting a brush fire, and after a long and grueling 72-hour shift, he fell unconscious from a heat stroke. Pechter luckily survived and awoke in the hospital, seemingly recovered. Despite his healthy heart, he suffered another heat stroke soon after his first one.

Twenty-year year firefighter veteran, Howard Pechter, was not immune to the dangers of heat stroke. Photo Credit: Fresno State

Pechter’s determination to find out what was causing his heat strokes led him to Drs. Riana and Luke Pryor from the Department of Kinesiology, researchers who specialize in heat and hydration and its effects on the human body. They – along with three graduate students, Sean Hatcher, Robert Leija and Savaunah Unzueta – put Pechter through a series of tests designed to see how his body would react while being exposed to different temperatures. They ultimately helped Pechter train his body to work under extremely hot and humid conditions, through hydration and heat acclimatization. Since his study with Fresno State, Pechter has not suffered another heatstroke.

Read Pechter’s full story, as shared by Fresno State, at the LINK.

[Photos courtesy of Fresno State]

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Graduate student, Sean Hatcher (left), was among the student researchers working with Pechter. Photo Credit: Fresno State
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Pechter at the location where he collapsed from heat stroke. Photo Credit: Fresno State