Firefighter paramedics see their challenges increase as the temperature drops
TOLEDO, Ohio (WNWO) —
Not only will snow and ice cause it to be more difficult to arrive quickly on scene, they also have to closely monitor their equipment so it works properly.
"At 32 degrees, our policy is that we automatically send a medic unit to any environmental emergency in the cold. So that means if there's a car accident or a patient is outside, at that time, they would automatically, upon dispatch, send a medic unit, so they don't have to wait for a life squad or another unit to get them in a warm environment," said Toledo Firefighter Paramedic Holly Bennett.
With the extreme cold weather upon us, challenges arise for first responders, as they try to complete their jobs.
For firefighter paramedics, the difficulties arise on scene, but also on the way to the incident with ice and snow.
"We definitely have to drive more cautiously and try to be prepared for what people are going to do out there, which is very unpredictable."
The equipment for these first responders takes daily maintenence, but even more so during the frigid temperatures.
"We try and keep the vehicles as clean as we can. We wash them everyday, but when the weather is as cold as it is, we can't wash them because the doors will freeze shut. There's other EMS equipment that also has to be taken care of," declared Toledo Firefighter Paramedic David Ferguson.
Once preparations are made, arriving on scene shows its challenges, as well.
"Obviously, we have to use water to fight fires. We have to keep the water moving. Otherwise, the hoses freeze on us. Hydrants also freeze. We have to check those very thoroughly before house fires. Then, we also get wet fighting fires, so we're also at risk of hypothermia in the cold."