TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Extreme cold weather is sweeping across northeast Kansas and it makes it difficult for first responders to do their job. Leaders at the Topeka Fire Department said they implement safety procedures each winter to keep their firefighters safe.
During extremely cold temperatures, Captain Chris Stanley said fire chiefs will send more firefighters to a fire than is normally needed. This gives them the chance to cycle firefighters through quickly.
Stanley said it’s important that firefighters are able to get out of of their gear quickly after a fire in below freezing temperatures.
“Your hands are getting wet. Your feet are getting cold. Your gear is getting frozen,” Stanely said. “You take the chance of like frost bite on your fingertips, so they are really wanting to get that stuff off and get you into that rehab bus.”
Stanley said firefighters will be sent to a rehab bus after going through one tank of oxygen fighting the fire. The rehab bus has heaters, warm drinks, and drinks with electrolytes to keep the firefighters hydrated.
The fire department has similar safety procedures during the summer. The same rehab bus used during the winter has an air conditioner to cool firefighters down when temperatures reach extreme highs during the summer.