TOPEKA (KSNT) – As winter weather sweeps across northeast Kansas, firefighters have to adjust their tactics to stay safe in the cold. The Topeka Fire Department said it is monitoring temperatures and wind chills each day when deciding what is safe for firefighters.
Public Education Officer Alan Stahl said that the gear firefighters wear provides multiple levels of protection.
“It does an excellent job of keeping us cool when we are inside a fire and warm when we are outside,” Stahl said. “Our fire gear is actually made up of multiple layers of protective materials and those layers themselves help to insulate us during the cold weather.”
Stahl said that it’s important that firefighters stay dry while fighting fires in the winter months. He said firefighters have an extra set of gear, so they can change if they get wet.
“We try to pull those people away from the fire scene as soon as we possibly can and get them into dry comfortable clothes,” Stahl said. “We’ll bring out a vehicle which is an old city bus and we bring it out and we’ll create a warming space for those folks to get into.”
Along with staying dry and warm, Stahl said they also have to worry about water freezing. He said the fire trucks will constantly circulate the water and they don’t fully shut off the hoses. This is similar to leaving a faucet running at home so it won’t freeze.