Freezing temperatures and snowfall usually keep people indoors and off the roads, but first responders will be out no matter the conditions.
Can bad weather affect how they do their jobs?
Bellaire Fire Chief Richard Smith says responding agencies often carry extra equipment during cold or snowy conditions.
He says when they know there is bad weather coming, they load the truck with extra clothing, blankets, small heaters, and other equipment that could be helpful in the cold.
Some departments will also carry equipment to help them thaw fire hydrants if necessary.
As far as response times are concerned, Smith says unplowed roads could slow trucks or an ambulance down a little, but the delay is nothing to worry about.
“There are some roads and areas of towns that you might not be able to get an aparatus to or a squad to because it’s on a hill. That’s where we just do our job. If it’s a fire, we try to do hose lays to where we’ve got to go, and EMS crews just have to take their equipment and do the best they can. Nobody should worry. You call 911, we’re coming,” said Smith.
Smith says one of the most dangerous things firefighters deal with in the cold temperatures is water freezing, so they take extra caution on stairs or roofs.
One small thing you can do is try to make sure your sidewalks are clear.
That is especially helpful to EMS crews who may need to carry a cot out of a house.