1. #1
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    Default Firefighting in the Cold

    Anybody have any tips on conducting firefighting operations in extreme cold?

    I'm a newly hired firefighter at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. We have some really extreme temps- it's spring now but last wk it was -100 windchill. Pumps tend to freeze the instant we stop moving water. We route the truck exhaust up through the pump to warm it but our 92 Pierces are still freezing.

    During a supply operation one of our crews charged 1000' of 3" supply line and by the time to water reached the tip the hydrant was frozen and they ended up with 1000' of solid 3" PIPE to pick up!

    I'm from Maine and I've been to some fires at like -20, where masks and lines were freezing, but this is really extreme. Anyone from somewhere like AK or the Yukon have tips?

    Thanks!
    Kit

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    When the lines are charged dont shut them down all the way. And cycle the pump. Thats what we did in Fairbanks and unless someone forgot to do one of those things we never had a problem.

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    During a supply operation one of our crews charged 1000' of 3" supply line and by the time to water reached the tip the hydrant was frozen and they ended up with 1000' of solid 3" PIPE to pick up!

    Ok, so I'm confused, explain a little more about the supply operation! I'm thinking the same as the Fairbanks FF and you simply werent bleeding any water, but that sounds to simple to be true! ( I spent two years at Ft. Greely, Ak and have picked up a few frozen hoselines off the ground) I know what your talking about brother! Nothing like Contact Frost Bite! Brass is a pretty thing, until you touch it with out gloves on when its -60!

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    Default "Flash frozen" supply line

    As I remember the story the frozen supply line case was last year when McMurdo Fire was supplying water for sea ice operations (the seawater down here is 28 degrees or so, so we use fresh water to fill cracks in sea ice and we make a floating dock out of ice for the resupply ships that come in once a year in February.

    It was neg. 30 or neg. 40 that day, and by the time the line was laid on the ice and we opened the hydrant, the water froze almost as soon as it contacted the inside of the hose.

    Antarctica is colder than similar latitudes in the northern hemisphere, because it's also at a higher altitude and the wind tends to be strong.

    We have a good fire crew but theres naturally a lot of turnover. I'd love to get in contact with someone who's got a couple decades of extreme cold-weather firefighting under their belt.

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    Thanks! We definitely do all the standard things- circulate water when were not moving (or stopping to circulate water every 1/2 hr on nice days when we driver-train), keep the nozzles cracked, thaw the ice out of coupling threads under the exhaust... but we still freeze

    i think part of it is the metal of the truck cools to outdoor air temp by the time we get where we're going and flow water.
    Also, some of the trucks are older, have freezes on a regular basis, and everything gets covered with abrasive volcanic ash down here, so there's a lot of small leaks in the system... what to do?!?

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    Default whoa

    Are you down there now?

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    Yeah, and you wouldnt believe the crazy people down here....
    like this one guy named Phil... holy crap

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