Fighting Fires in Icy Temps

It never fails, the temps drop below freezing and the tones sound. Fighting fires in icy temps is just awful.  It’s tough on the trucks, hard on the equipment and especially rough for firefighters, both mentally and physically.  Being prepared for a fire is one thing, but being prepared for firefighting in difficult conditions is another and it’s really important to be ready.  This is especially true when the conditions are as inhospitable as when you mix water with freezing temps.

Iced Up Hydrants

Know your hydrants. Keeping tabs on the hydrants in your coverage area is important when fighting fires in icy temps. If they are properly maintained and checked throughout the year, you can avoid rolling up to a fire, finding that the hydrant isn’t functioning properly. If a hydrant slowly leaked and froze, connecting a hose line is impossible. Did you know you can use a simple checklist to help your crews check and maintain hydrants as often as you see fit?

Frozen Hoses

Wrangling frozen hose lines after dousing flames for hours in freezing temps is about as fun as it gets. Some departments use flatbed trailers to get the hose back to the station where they thaw and dry them.  Others race to fold them up, while running a small stream of water through to beat ice from forming.  Sometimes departments are forced to leave hose. They can collect them when temps climb above freezing. In areas where below freezing winters drag on, it is vitally important to know where these lines are, so you can collect them later.  If they are vital to your particular firefighting operation and need to be replaced, keeping a current inventory of them makes reordering or requesting funding assistance through grants easier.

Cracked Nozzles and Appliances

If your hose is frozen, chances are so will be your nozzles and other appliances.  Take care when packing in this equipment because chipping ice off or using brute strength to separate hose from nozzle can cause damage to the appliance, hose and couplings.  Inspecting all of these elements when warmed back up is very important so you can schedule any needed replacement or maintenance.

Stuck Portable Tanks, Stiff Bunker Gear, and Other Special Equipment

If you are using a portable tank, folding it up could be real fun. Often, they get frozen right to the ground and it takes chiseling them out with an axe to get them back into the rig.  Bunker gear is another that needs proper thawing and drying, and there is lots of other specialty equipment, like battery operated radios and lights, that should inspected for fried batteries and water or ice damage as well.  Leveraging a checklist program to initiate walking through a check for these, like our Critical Asset Checks, helps a ton.

Fire scenes are chaotic enough, let alone following a fire in cold temps.  It spells disaster. It’s important that you have a means by which to conduct checks on your vulnerable equipment before and after incidents. Even more, imagine if you’ve had to leave items at a fire scene because it was frozen to the ground and having to guess what was left behind.

With PSTrax, you can make this process easy by pulling previous checks, comparing inventories and noting losses and maintenance needs for all your equipment.

Work smarter, because you definitely already work harder, and check out how PSTrax can help today!

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Liz Young is a well-rounded marketer who has supported all kinds of marketing projects and teams. She has worked in a variety of markets including SaaS, technology, retail – fashion, apparel and gift, and manufacturing.  The proud wife of a volunteer First Responder, Liz has worked in the public service industry for 15 years. As the Marketing Director for PSTrax, she is passionate about telling the PSTrax story, championing the value PSTrax brings to public service organizations.

Like what you read? Follow Liz on LinkedIn here.  Want to know more about how PSTrax can help? Schedule a demo today!