Cold Temperatures Slow Down Emergency Responders

Posted: Nov 25, 2013 12:57 PM by Danielle Carter, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Nov 25, 2013 11:20 PM

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COLUMBIA - Brutally cold temperatures have finally hit Mid-Missouri, and they're affecting emergency responders like firefighters, police, and EMTs. Saturday night, KOMU 8 News covered a house fire in Columbia. That night, the windchill dipped into the single digits. Jay Niemeyer, captain with the Boone County Fire Protection District told KOMU 8 News because of the cold temperatures, any water the firefighters used to put out the fire promptly froze wherever it landed, making any flat walkways slick with ice. Niemeyer said the firefighters were using icemelt on the driveway and sidewalks and were being very careful to avoid any icy patches. Battalion Chief with the Columbia Fire Department, Brad Fraizer, said the fire department is careful to protect both the firefighters and their equipment from the elements. "We've got ice melt on all the fire trucks," said Fraizer. "To help with the slip and to keep ice to a minimum in high-traffic areas we also protect our trucks against freezing weather with anitfreeze and other things." Fraizer said ice and other inclement weather can also slow down response times to emergencies. "Inclement weather can definitely have an impact on response time. You're gonna drive slower, in snow or heavy rain," said Fraizer. Sergeant Joe Bernhard with the Columbia police department also said police officers have to take precautions when temperatures are in the single digits. "Officers try to dress in layers for the warmth and have gloves and hand warmers and hats with them," said Bernhard. He also pointed out that officers are on standby during colder months. "Supervisors need to keep that in mind that if they do have somebody that gets caught outside that they have a relief officer go give them a break to warm up if they're out there too long," said Bernhard.
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