Firefighters Battle Fire and Cold

By: Meg Gatto Email
By: Meg Gatto Email

The freezing temperatures made for a tough night for Staunton firefighters trying to put a blaze that displaced a family Sunday.

The cold slowed the work of the firefighters because the water they were trying to use began to freeze as soon as it hit the ground. That made it harder for them to get around the site without injuring themselves.

Also when dealing with the cold temperatures, Staunton Fire Department Capt. Jeff Smith says it's also important to constantly check and re-check the equipment.

Smith says, "You got to keep the water flowing in the hoses, because if you don't let the water be constantly flowing, they will freeze in the hose and you'll have damage to your hose and your nozzles."

Smith says battling fires like the one on Gooch Street Sunday night can be difficult. Extra steps that can be taken as precautions include spraying salt to make sure everything, especially the fire truck, stays in place.

Sometimes it takes more time to put out a fire, but Smith wants to see every firefighter stay safe.

He adds, "When you're using water and it freezes on ladders and your hose appliances, they freeze to the ground, and then you have to worry about the extra weight that's on the ladders. That's not additionally there to support the firefighters."

Another major concern is hypothermia.

"You got to have rehab for your people to get your people in where it's warm, warm fluids, keep them warm to keep out the hypothermia, to keep them able to do their jobs," says Smith.

It is an unpleasant job in freezing temperatures, but as Smith says, firefighters take pride in their work and they will do everything they can put out any fire.

Smith says, "It's hard to get out of bed when it's nice and warm to go out and help somebody, but we're here to help them, so we have to go out in all types of weather, snow, cold and as well as the heat also."


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