As bitter cold temperatures dominated the state last week so did fires.
Two were in western North Dakota and two others in the East.
And each of these fires put our first responders directly in the elements.
“We try to take every precaution possible to make sure that the weather doesn’t affect our ability to fight a fire or respond to a medical call,” said Devin Walter, 5 Year Firefighter.
Devin Walter remembers this fire. The Chateau fire that required lots of hands on assistance in the cold winter.
“It was bitterly cold, I think everyone remembers that so we had to keep a water line flowing,” said Walter.
One of the main things he remembers was how cold he felt.
“It’s definitely a feeling you have to experience to get the full affect,” said Walter.
Many times, that bitter cold feeling happens when the firefighters get wet.
“If we get wet well now we’ve created a problem and we need to rehab more often,” said Lonnie Sather, Battalion Chief.
Firefighters are usually able to prevent themselves from getting too cold.
“They have an extra pair of gloves, extra hoods so if they should get wet they have dry clothing to put on,” said Sather.
The jackets are a big part in keeping our firefighters warm. The outer layer is flame resistant, the middle layer is water resistant, and the inner layer is what keeps the heat in.”
“There are times when we’re out for extend period of times in very cold weather but fortunately our gear is very warm,” said Sather.
Keeping bodies warm isn’t firefighters only concern.
“On extreme cold days we try to keep the water filled trucks in,” said Sather.
If the trucks have to come out and the water hose needs to be used.
“Once we start flowing water on extreme cold days we keep flowing it,” said Sather.
That way the water doesn’t freeze, especially during emergency moments.
“We’re basically prepared year round for any weather,” said Sather.
The right preparation makes their jobs easier to protect us from flaming dangers
Sather says that it isn’t uncommon for winter to be a busier season because of the use of more fireplaces, furnaces, and wood burning stoves.
His advice is to make sure your chimney’s are clean and your carbon monoxide alarms are working.