National News

How firefighters deal with the bitter cold

Posted January 4, 2018 12:21 p.m. EST

— Firefighters take the idea of putting on extra layers to another level.

None of them are a match, even when water is the best tool, during below freezing temperatures.

"Water is what we use to fight fires. So, what we do with our personnel when on the scene for an extended period of time is to make sure they get into the fire truck and are warming up," said Captain Leon Whitener.

News 4 followed crews to a call at a local hospital. There was no fire, but there were burst pipes.

"The crews that have to go inside to deal with a broken sprinkler are getting soaked. So when they come outside, all of the gear is wet and obviously it poses a problem," added Capt. Whitener.

Then hypothermia becomes a big concern. But, other problems beyond uniforms can happen.

Captain Bill Pollihan showed News 4 his truck's backup supply of water which could become useless in extremely low temperatures.

"In this type of weather, it does not take long for it to freeze up, so it will crystallize within the hose. We will get other kinds of problems when we try to get a good hose through," said Captain Pollian.

Firefighters must get to the water supply and keep it moving to stop it from freezing.

"If we are on a scene, and cannot get water on the fire or the equipment freezes or fail, it makes our job even more dangerous," added Captain Pollihan.

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