Saturday, December 20, 2014

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Cortland/Ithaca

Firefighters work in extreme temperatures

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Firefighters work in extreme temperatures
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We expect it to be cold this time of year. But the temperature dropping can spell trouble for firefighters. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with an assistant fire chief about working in weather like this.

AUBURN, N.Y. -- Fire and ice are not always the best combinations for firefighters. Sunday, freezing temperatures and below zero wind chills got the best of some of the firefighters' resources at a house fire on Lansing Street.

Auburn Assistant Fire Chief Ed Sherman said, "Last night, we had issues with water freezing, water supply issues. Even after you've got the water, water in the hoses can freeze up. Ice goes everywhere, so you get more slip hazards."

And the water used to douse the fire can make the situation more slippery and icy. This is the house the next day and parts of it are covered in ice from their efforts. Sherman says in the same way, ice can freeze on gear, equipment and even on the firefighters themselves.

"The biggest thing is to try to keep moving. We try to rotate crews, get them where it's warm and get fresh crews out there,” Sherman added. “You have to pay a little more attention to that when it's cold like this. If you get your hands wet, you're going to start to freeze."

The spring and summer months don't bring much relief because fire crews have to deal with extreme heat. The assistant fire chief says it's something crews just have to work through.

"It can happen anytime. It can happen three in the afternoon, three in the morning, hot, cold, rainy dry. You get used to it. You do what you need to do when it happens," said Sherman.

And when fire happens, regardless of what's going on outside, they're ready to answer the call.

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