Firefighters Braving the Elements in Below Zero Temperatures

Firefighters talk about the dangers they face working in the cold weather

ROCKFORD - The cold brings some serious dangers for firefighters.  Conditions can be icy, wet, and can cause exhaustion. Rockford Firefighters say residents and the community can help ease those dangers.

"Everything takes more effort and more manpower, when it's cold outside,"said Rockford Fire Department District Chief John Dempsey.

Stateline fire departments have been put to the test.  Rockford Firefighters battled two house fires since Saturday.  Both incidents had wind chills were below zero.
"It takes much more effort on the fire departments resources," said Dempsey.  "We need to rotate companies through.  Our personnel get tired because they have more gear on and everything is taking more effort."

Dempsey says the bitter cold slows down response time because of poor road conditions, hydrants can be frozen, and using hoses on scenes through the snow can be tough.  Even then, the water they spray on fires, comes back and can drench firefighters.

"It's dangerous out there," said Dempsey. "We ask our community and residents to be safe inside."

Dempsey says residents can help make their jobs easier.  Residents should make sure home address are well lit.  Also, it helps to clear snow off sidewalks, driveways, and around fire hydrants, if there's one in front of your home.

"We enjoy the work no matter what it is, it just takes us longer and its more difficult," said Dempsey.  "When its 95 degrees and humid, its not that much fun being in gear either.  Everybody that gets on the fire department loves the work and loves helping people.  The weather is just another thing we have to deal with throughout the year"

The Rockford Fire Department urges that drivers take caution when they see fire trucks or emergency vehicles.  The best way to avoid any type of issues is to pull over to the side of the street and stop completely.


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