SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The single-digit to below zero temperatures feel even colder with the wind – it also makes being outside more dangerous. For some, staying indoors isn’t an option.
Anything can go wrong when on call for the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, especially when it is cold.
“The main thing is, is like pretty much any and everybody, it’s dress in layers. That’s a big thing. Make sure that you’re prepared for the cold weather. Have your cold weather gear. Most all of us carry different bags of cold weather gear that we throw on the trucks when it gets like this and are prepared for it with extra gloves, mittens, things like that,” division chief Steve Fessler said.
Fessler says you have to watch out for hoses and couplings so they do not freeze.
“When you’re on a, say a fire scene on a call, that’s where we have to start worrying about the trucks freezing over, the water freezing quickly, so typically if we have hoses off we keep water flowing through them so it’s not just left to sit to freeze,” he said.
However, the water falling on the ground or surfaces that do freeze is treated with sand to lessen the chances of slips and falls. They will also rotate firefighters in and out of warmth.
“All of your bunker gear will freeze over, and often times one of things you learn as a newer firefighter is if your bunker gear freezes over like that, you’re better off to keep it frozen over than to thaw it out and then have it re-freeze on you,” Fessler said.
It’s not a job for everybody.
“I’m very lucky. I’m very happy I’m not out there,” Sioux Falls resident Joyce Manahan said.
Manahan was trying to stay warm outside in Downtown Sioux Falls today.
“Just be sure you’re dressed warm and try to get protection from the wind like a building or something like that, so that’s the main thing. I put my warm coat and a coat on. This kind of helps me against the wind. It doesn’t let the wind through too easily,” she said.
When crews get back to fire stations, they usually have to take the frozen hoses off the truck to let them thaw and replace them with dry hoses so they are ready to go again.