Well the snow and other winter weather has hit us here in Virginia and most other southern states hard once again leaving a lot of our fire companies looking like this![youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jetstg39n-4]
Even on shift last night in the initial stages I had to do a little shoveling in order to get back in the bay, and to clear steps and side walks on EMS runs.
I thought this would be a good time to rehash some older posts I have written about working in the snow and wintry conditions
http://averagejakeff.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/winter-operations-the-engine/ This one is preparation for your engine company. We all know that we use water to fight fire, however water can be our enemy in winter weather conditions. We have to make our engine work for us rather than against us.
http://averagejakeff.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/winter-operations-the-firefighter/?relatedposts_exclude=1440 This post details some things you can do to be better prepared from the firefighter perspective. Extra gloves, moving your shovel out of the “crow’s nest” etc.
I hope you take time to read some of them, and I hope they can benefit you in your winter operations.
Additionally I know most rigs that have even a remote chance of winter weather have some sort of automatic chain system. Most of these systems are similar but can be a little different based on the manufacturer. I am most familiar with Onspot, but there are other brand names. Below are links to a few of those companies take time to review what your automatic chain system can and can not do, and when it may be time to switch to a full tire chain. Make sure that if you are unsure if you need the full tire chain you put them on the rig with you, that way you can attempt to install them if you get in a bind out in your district.
Again make sure you find out your brand of automatic chain your department is using to find out what they can and can not do!
Lastly these weather conditions change everything. Our response is slower, our movement on scene is slower, our deployment is slower. This means that the routine chest pain call could be a STEMI, the asthma attack could become the respiratory arrest, and the room and contents could become the post flash over structure fire that could lead to collapse. Make sure we adjust everything we do and set ourselves up for success.
If you have any other valuable tips for winter weather operations please share on twitter @averagejakeff or in the comments section.
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!