Firefighters battle fire, sometimes mother nature too

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Fire crews have been busy fighting flames this week, and considering the lower temperatures extra precautions have to be put into place.

Departments make sure that they are constantly rotating firefighters while they do whatever they can to stay warm.

“Cold weather absolutely adds news challenges to us,” said New Milford Fire Protection District Lieutenant, Evan Wells.

As temperature drops, Stateline firefighters are put to the test.

“As far as personnel goes, personnel are going to fatigue faster, so it’s important that we get more crews in. We might have to upgrade the alarm a little bit just to get more people in so we can start shuffling people through so they don’t get as tired as quickly,” Wells said. “Pumps can freeze as well. We might have to get more trucks in, just in case something goes wrong with one, we have a backup plan in place.”

The extra attention needed during cold-weather fires means departments can be stretched thin.

“You’re pulling more fire trucks away from other fire stations, so then you have bigger gaps in the city for services because the cold weather is complicating one specific fire scene,” said Rockford Fire Department Lieutenant, Trevor Hogan. “The Salvation Army, they bring in their canteen to help. They bring us coffee, hot chocolate, stuff like that to warm us up a little bit.”

Lieutenant Hogan says outside resources are crucial for first responders.

“They bring in a city bus to help us warm up and get out of the weather and the elements for awhile,” Hogan said. “The Salvation Army, they bring in their canteen to help. They bring us coffee, hot chocolate, stuff like that to warm us up a little bit.”

Lieutenant Wells say there are steps residents can take to help firefighters out.

“If you have fire hydrants that are on your property, or near your house, it’s important that those get cleared off,” said Wells. “Just so in case there is an emergency there, we do have quick access to the hydrant so we don’t have to dig out the snow around it.”

In addition to keeping fire hydrants accessible having shoveled and salted sidewalks can increase a firefighter’s ability to respond to a call.

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