Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Winter Firefighting

'Tis the season - winter is upon us. Today I am on duty, detailed to an engine company as the acting captain. The weather forecasters are continually saying "SNOW". Oh well, the good weather had to end sometime. We're in somewhat of a drought here, so moisture will be good.

As the acting captain, I checked with my crew to make sure they are ready for it. Some of the things we double checked:
  • The apparatus' automatic tire chains.
  • Extra socks/other assorted attire, so we have something warm & dry to change in to in the event we catch a job.
  • Slip-on spikes for our boots.
  • Ice melt.
It's the little things that can make a big difference.

Other things to consider in cold weather operations:
  • Take enough time to be safe and to do it right, the first time.
  • Use caution when operating on/near ice.
  • Don't run.
  • Remember to leave the nozzles cracked just a little so the line won't freeze.
  • Eat right.
  • Keep properly hydrated! Just as our hydration affects how we cool off in the hot weather, staying properly hydrated will help us to keep warm in the cold weather.
Cold weather doesn't add or take away from a fire; it only affects the flash point of some substances, but none of that stuff matters when it is already on fire! Wet gear freezes. Wet surfaces freeze, increasing the fall risks for firefighters exponentially.

I'm keeping this one short. Feel free to comment and add more suggestions!

Stay safe.