Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean house fires don’t happen. The Minot Fire Department responded to seven fires just last month.
The department shared the dangers of fighting a fire in the winter and how they can be prevented.
“We tend to see a lot more fires because we’re using a lot of different elements to create heat sources in houses to keep houses warm,” said Devin Walter, training captain.
Space heaters and fireplaces are the most common things used to heat up a house. But not using them properly, can have a dangerous outcome for you and the people fighting the potential fire.
“Your oven shouldn’t be used to heat your home,” said Stuart Hammer, fire prevention. “You should be using approved appliances. Making sure that we’re not using extension cords because they can break down.”
But the danger of fighting fires in below zero temperatures doesn’t stop there. Slipping on ice, water spraying on their protective gear or their air mask freezing up are some of the other things firefighters have to worry about in the winter.
“When our gear gets frozen up, is we kind of like it to stay frozen up, because once it thaws out, that’s when we have a lot of problems with the moisture and stuff getting inside of our gear and stuff like that, and getting us really cold,” Walter said. “Whereas that extra layer of ice provides a layer of insulation so when we do get froze up, we’d rather stay froze up than getting thawed out until we’re actually done with all the operations.”
Another way to help out these first responders, if you have a fire hydrant in front of your house, they ask that you keep it clear so they can access it easily.
“If it takes us five extra minutes to clear out that hydrant before we can get that water, that’s five minutes that we could reduce the damage that your home takes on a fire,” Walter said.