1. #1
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    Default Cautions and Thoughts

    When operating in the cold.

    How many of the departments in cold areas change some of their tactics as the temperature drops?

    We have rear heaters for the foam truck.
    We carry salt and sand to give footing around the apparatus.
    The diesel apparatus are plugged in even within the station.
    Nozzles are never fully shut off when the hose is charged unless we are in the cleanup phase.


    What kinds of things does your department do differently?
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    • Constant pump circulation
    • If we get to ¼ tank of water, we shut down and recirculate. I you run out of water you’re going to freeze up
    • Nozzles always either flowing, cracked or recirculated. Ice crystals in the line will plug the nozzles.
    • SCBA have a tendency to freeze up even inside a nice warm house that is on fire.
    • No SCBA masks are put back in service until they are completely dry.
    • Poor footing from to scene and back home again
    • Added concentration on ladders
    • Driving sometimes as slow as 40kph
    • If you freeze up the pump, send it back to the station. There’s nothing you can do on scene that can’t be done faster in a warm building
    • Added caution around high-pressure hydraulic lines. They may not take much of a knock at -40
    • EVERYTHING has a chance of breaking down at -40 and probably will

    Just a few.

    Stay Safe

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    Well, sometimes we have to wear long sleeve shirts when it gets cold, but I guess it's all relative to what your definition of "cold" is.
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    The station is climate controlled. Trucks are plugged into shoreline power and air all year.

    When the OAT is well below freezing, we take the usual precautions... circulate the pumps, etc.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireman4949
    Well, sometimes we have to wear long sleeve shirts when it gets cold, but I guess it's all relative to what your definition of "cold" is.
    I usually wear two long sleeve shirts when it is cold.
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    We go into winter ops where we drain the pump of water. Before we leave the station, the FMO closes the main drain and when we get on scene they prime the pump to get water. After, we empty out the pump at the scene to prevent freezing and close the main drain and when we get back to the house we reopen it. We also leave the nozzle cracked in the winter to prevent hoses from freezing and carry buckets of sand in the trucks. If we use a hydrant we have the city water depatrment come out to check it to make sure that it drained out ok and not freeze.

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    We drain the pumps ...........also if we get significant accumulation we run the safety officer vehicle with shovels and salt to help crews.
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    All of our trucks are plugged into air and block heaters year round. When freezing temps are out, we don't shut down the nozzles completely. We leave the master drains on the trucks open all the time unless we're going to be pumping. We also carry sand on the trucks to sand down ice build up's in and around the trucks when pumping. We also spray all inlets and discharges with RV anti freeze, as well as couplings before we couple them together while decking. The anti freeze idea seems to help. We do all this from Oct 1 till Apr 1.

    Mike

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    I forgot to add that we do training for ice rescue with our gumby suits. If possible we go out and try to find some open water but if not we have a mock up that we bring to one of our local pools and use that.

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    We make sure the heaters(infrared in the new and gas in the older) are running in the station,especially when no one is there.The pumps are drained and checked at least once daily.(not everyone knows that someone already did so what will it hurt?)Most of the rigs have shore power and the vehicle doors are open so the heat gets in from the
    During calls,when someone comes out for tank change,rehab is held inside the rigs for warmth.Everyone on a call has to cycle through whether they are on a hose team,doing access and overhaul or whatever needs doing on a call.

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    I agree with fireman4949, I think 30 degrees is COLD!!! I'm praying for no fire in anything less than that!!!

    So what is cold to some of you???

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdlowndes
    I agree with fireman4949, I think 30 degrees is COLD!!! I'm praying for no fire in anything less than that!!!

    So what is cold to some of you???
    Cold to me is like -30 or below.. Celcius that is
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    Used to live in North Pole, AK. -50 F is pretty cold.

    Recirculate the pumps (even on med calls or MVAs)
    Pump operators wear contact gloves (don't want contact frostbite)
    Keep the nozzles cracked
    Keep your facepiece in your coat when not using it
    Wear those boot spikes (sucks when you're driving though. I guess if you had sure footing you could just be careful)
    Have an extra change of everything
    Plus what everyone else has said.

    Never shut any apparatus down outside. Also, dept would sometimes dictate that all calls would be responded to without lights/sirens if the driving got really bad.

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    Don't forget to make sure the hydrants in the public water system are not frozen. If one is found to be frozen, it can be thawed using a propane "weed burner" around the bottom of the hydrant where it contacts the ground. Be sure and remove at least one cap to let the ice and water escape before you start. Slowly turn the top valve, and when water starts flowing, replace the cap and "hook-up." This is not a scientific method, however it usually get the "wet-stuff" flowing in short order, and it cost effective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFMBob View Post
    Don't forget to make sure the hydrants in the public water system are not frozen. If one is found to be frozen, it can be thawed using a propane "weed burner" around the bottom of the hydrant where it contacts the ground. Be sure and remove at least one cap to let the ice and water escape before you start. Slowly turn the top valve, and when water starts flowing, replace the cap and "hook-up." This is not a scientific method, however it usually get the "wet-stuff" flowing in short order, and it cost effective.
    Use extreme caution if you do this. If an ice plug rockets out it could become very dangerous.

    Stay Safe

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    The station is climate controlled. Trucks are plugged into shoreline power and air all year.

    When the OAT is well below freezing, we take the usual precautions... circulate the pumps, etc.
    I would use caution when supplying the air system of a truck off of a building compressor, especially in winter. In my old department, we had our aerial that rarely moved (saw sunlight maybe 3 or 4 times in a good month) plumbed into the building's compressed air system.

    When we took it out in the winter, the airbrakes invariably froze up. The compressed air that was supplied through the truck's own system was run through a drier. The compressed air that came out of the building's system...wasn't.

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    We do what everybody else said. It's especially important that we remember to re-circulate the pumps at MVAs or on other calls that don't require a hose line. We also put a little more time into washing vehicles to make sure and get all of the salt off.

    Since we provide both fire and ambulance service, we run an engine company, usually a brush truck, on every ambulance call when the county declares a snow emergency. This is a county standard. The winch on the brush truck can be used if the ambulance goes off of the road, and the extra manpower is great for those un-shoveled walkways and driveways.

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