MCFRS News Release

Responding to Emergencies can be Difficult in Frigid Weather

When shoveling snow, avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks.

Extinguishing cold weather fires presents unique challenges to firefighters. Not only is fire fighting a physically demanding profession, fighting fires and responding to medical emergencies in cold weather can be even more challenging for many reasons.

Ice, snow and extremely cold temperatures can impede the response to the fire. Slippery roads and hazardous conditions affect emergency apparatus in the same manner as any other vehicle. Additionally, since establishing an effective water supply is crucial to extinguishing a fire, in extreme weather conditions firefighter's equipment and small tools can be affected by frigid temperatures and may freeze or be more difficult to use.

In some extreme cases fire fighters might need to search for a hydrant or other water source that is not frozen. Once a water supply has been established, firefighting equipment can become covered with ice and simply walking around an area sprayed with water that turns to ice can become treacherous.

Firefighters are at increased risk of injury and dehydration during winter operations. In fire situations, where structures are evacuated because of a fire, the residents are also placed at greater risk due to frigid temperatures. Additional resources such as busses are often required in order to assist evacuees.

We urge residents to stay indoors and use caution during the hazardous weather conditions that are expected to remain in the area through Wednesday. Snow, sleet, freezing rain and high winds are making roads slippery, and creating the potential for downed trees, power lines and electric outages in homes and businesses.

Residents are encouraged to avoid unnecessary trips.

Pedestrians must be especially careful crossing the street and are encouraged to wear appropriate shoes and brightly colored clothing while walking in snowy and icy conditions. Pedestrians should be particularly cautious because of the slippery footing of the crosswalks and sidewalks and ability of drivers to maneuver or stop their vehicles under such icy conditions. Use reflective clothing or stickers for maximum protection, especially at dawn and dusk. Make sure vehicles are stopped and the drivers see you before proceeding in front of them. Walk with care and drive with caution.

Slippery driveways and sidewalks can be particularly hazardous. Keep them well shoveled and apply abrasive materials to improve traction.

When shoveling snow, avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks.

During a power outage:

Use flashlights for light instead of candles. Candles pose significant fire dangers, even when attended.

Home heating systems and heating equipment also pose fire dangers. Portable space heaters need at least a three-foot clearance from anything that can burn, and should always be turned off when leaving the room or going to sleep.

Portable kerosene heaters should be fueled outside, free of flame and other heat sources, and only when the device has cooled completely. Their use is discouraged.

Never use flammable liquids to start a fire. Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Never store ashes indoors or in combustible containers or paper sacks. Always place fireplace ashes in a non-combustible container (with a tight lid) and in an outdoor location away from any materials that can catch fire.

Check on elderly relatives and neighbors to make sure their homes are properly heated and they have adequate food.

Make sure you know where your emergency supplies for water, food, warm clothing, blankets, prescription medications, flashlights, portable radio and batteries are located in the event of a power outage.

Smoke alarms save Lives - make sure yours are Working!

Don't stay home without one!