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Winter Operations: The Firefighter

As it gets colder and colder outside we as firefighters have to adjust out operations in order to meet the needs of our customers. I plan on doing a couple of these focusing on different things. This first post is going to focus on the firefighter and how you can better prepare yourself for winter weather ops.

Like most anything preparation is EVERYTHING, if they are predicting cold, and or winter weather in your area you need to report to your duty shift with the proper provisions. If you have read this blog at all you know that I carry a SWAT (Special Wrenches And Tools) bag. During the winter I add some extra stuff to it in order to better operate. Here are some winter weather firefighter tips.

1. EXTRA, EXTRA, EXTRA: Carry an extra of just about everything. Extra gloves, socks, hood, etc. Put things that are emergent on the rig in a bag so that you can get to them. At the station make sure you have at least 1 spare uniform, and 1 spare pair of boots (do not forget your stocking cap!), a lot of times when dealing with winter weather events you can get wet. Wet + cold = MISERABLE. I also like to carry a towel on the rig. Lets face it dry warm feet feel good no matter what time of year it is. It would also be a good idea to carry some extra stuff for the patients we encounter (blankets, and towels).

2. DE Ice Ice baby: We operate with water, when its cold water can freeze. Additionally if we are driving in winter weather and on scene for a while ice can accumulate on the windshield, and side mirrors. Carrying some De-icer on the rig will help put you back in service, and back to the fire station. Carrying some ice melt and deploying it around the rig if you are pumping will allow you to operate safer.

3. Take this job and shovel it: We mostly carry shovels for brush fires, and for overhaul of fires, however in winter weather a good and easily reachable shovel is a must have. If you are dealing with a patient that can not walk how else would you clear a path for the stretcher if you do not have a shovel?

4. Change: We have to change everything we do when we are dealing with winter weather. We are driving slower, moving slower, yet the fire or emergency does not change at all. We have to adjust out mindset, and our tactics to deploy properly and accurately.

Well that’s all I have for now, I’ll be adding more later about preparation of the rig, and some other tips and tricks to make you winter run smoother. The most important thing to remember is to have fun with it. This is the best job in the world! Leave some of your winter weather tips in the comments section, and as usual spread the word about the blog!

 Even shoveling snow can be fun with the right people!

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