Cold Weather Challenges Firefighters

Fighting fires is always tough, And bitterly cold conditions make it even worse.

From the words of Wausau Fire Department Lieutenant Al Antolick the cold generally just slows processes down all together when crews try to fight the flames at this time of year.

He said there's a couple things that make cold fire fighting different. The first: The firefighters have to prep themselves. They have to wear extra layers, socks and gloves.

Antolick said they keep the trucks' heat on high so they can shuttle the guys through to rehab them and dry their equipment when on scene. They do this because the gear tends to malfunction in cold weather.

"The cold hinders everything," Antolick said. "We can run in problems with hydrants being frozen up. Equipment does malfunction. Sometimes our air pack, because of the extreme air difference of coming out of a vehicle and into 15 below zero, things do freeze up."

Another thing they have to keep in mind when fighting outside is keeping water lines cracked open. If fire crews don't do this lines tend to freeze.

Also, since many people use space heaters at this time of year, Antolick said there are a couple things you should keep in mind.

Don't leave the heater unattended.
Use proper extension cords.
Don't hang anything on the heaters to dry.

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