Crews battle more than fire during winter months

The bitter cold presents different challenges for first responders. Terre Haute authorities say the freezing conditions impact gear and personnel.

Posted: Dec. 27, 2017 10:35 PM
Updated: Dec. 27, 2017 11:31 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The bitter cold presents different challenges for first responders. Terre Haute authorities say the freezing conditions impact gear and personnel.

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Crews deal with hoses freezing as water sits inside or hoses stuck to the ground.

Hydrants can also freeze so it can take longer for crews to battle a blaze this time of year.

While firefighters have gear protecting them from heat, suits are not good for staying warm. Water may not penetrate the suits but water can freeze on them making it difficult to move around.

Arson Investigator with the Terre Haute Fire Department Norm Loudermilk says, "It could cause, obviously, hypothermia, frostbite in firefighters. They get a false sense of security because the equipment that the have, they depend on so much, and with this freezing weather it could really put a damper on what we're doing."

He says crews have to be rotated more often in the winter. Terre Haute firefighters do not have a rehab bus so they often huddle in an ambulance to warm-up and hydrate.

Authorities say it does take longer to fight fires in the cold but the public can help speed-up the process by keeping driveways, sidewalks and hydrants clear.

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