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Irmo band students have new ways to stay cool

They use an ice cold immersion pool, eat frozen snacks and take lots of water breaks.

IRMO, S.C. — Staying cool in this South Carolina heat can be a challenge, but it's a challenge accepted by the Irmo High School marching band staff. 

Band camp is in full swing for Irmo High School and middle school students. 

Beyond practicing and perfecting their performing skills, students have to stay hydrated. 

"I make sure that I have a cold towel that I dip in the ice and I make sure before I come here I drink 16 ounces of water," Maurice Simpkins, band student said.

This year in particular with a new band and assistant band director, safety rules are changing.

"We've had temperatures in the triple digits, up as high as 110, so I closely monitor Perry Weather, which gives us a rating for the WBGT, the bulb, I monitor that closely, I monitor their water breaks, so they get water breaks every 20 minutes for six minutes a piece," Hannah Redd, band director said.

Hannah Redd, the new band director, requires a frozen snack in the morning, replenishing electrolytes and taking long water breaks. 

RELATED: Extreme heat can be dangerous for kids, experts warn

Redd tells News 19 she needs to be the first to know if a student is reacting to the heat. 

According to booster parents this is not how it was before. Typically the booster parents would attend to the student with the heat emergency, not the band director. 

"We have a cooler with bed sheets in it that are sitting in ice water, which got used yesterday to cool a student down quickly and we have our new immersion pool over here," said Sunny Herring, band booster club president.

According to local ER doctors, it's typical to see band members for heat-related emergencies this time of year. 

Prior to this, the school's safety and heat protocol was different. 

"We might get a couple of water breaks in there, but they were usually gush and go's so you were expected to go and drink water really quickly and then get back out on the block, so now we're monitoring the bulb actively and so we're using that to inform how long our water breaks should be," Michael Calamas, assistant band director said.

RELATED: Zookeepers working hard to keep animals cool during the dog days of summer

Parents, students and staff explain that this is a refreshing change to keep everyone safer.

Band season runs through the end of October. According to school staff, next week practices will switch to afternoons three days a week.

They still are in need of some misters if you're looking to help. 

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