Extreme cold makes job harder for firefighters

Local News

Even on the coldest day of the season, firefighters suit up and respond like normal. But on days like this, they have to manage more than just the flames.

Chief Scott Strahan, Columbus Fire Deputy Chief said, “When your body’s fighting to stay warm, you are just fatiguing that much faster.”

Along with staying warm, staying dry on the job can be a problem.

“You don’t necessarily feel that when you’re working, certainly if you’re in a burning building you don’t get cold.  it’s when you come out.  You’re wet, everything instantly freezes, your mobility is messed up, you’re bulky anyway, so that leaves you more susceptible to trips and falls and things of that sort,” Strahan said. 

This water can also freeze as it puddles around where they are working

Battalion Chief David Baugh said, “A good truck operator will keep a bucket of salt on their truck, so then when you get an incident like this, there’s water laying around, they put the salt down so that we’re not slipping, falling and hurting ourselves.”

But at least they had one thing working in their favor this time: less wind.

“Wind chill is windchill and we feel that, but it also contributes to increased fire conditions.  So windblown fires are harder to fight,” Strahan said.

During the winter months, there are a few things that you can do to help firefighters.  One of those is when you are clearing the sidewalk to clear away the snow from fire hydrants to make sure that they are accessible in an emergency.  When you are driving on ice and snow, you should continue to take it slow, but you still need to move over for emergency vehicles like fire trucks, police and ambulances. 

All year long it is important to not only have but practice your plan for a fire. 

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