Firefighters brave frigid temperatures to fight fires - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters brave frigid temperatures to fight fires

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Emergency responders say the frigid temperatures we've been experiencing in central Wisconsin change how they do their jobs. That includes firefighters, who say they have to be extra careful when the temperature drops.

"Your feet start to freeze up in your shoes," said Matt Brockman.  "You can have on all the layers you want, but if you're standing out in the cold for any period of time, it gets to you."

Matt Brockman works for the Wausau Fire Department. He says fighting a fire in below freezing temperatures is a challenge.

"We can be out in these temperatures for hours," said Brockman "3, 4, 5, even longer, sometimes all night."

To battle the winter weather, Brockman says he and other firefighters dress in layers, and take breaks when they get too cold.

"We definitely have to take special precautions to stay warm," said Brockman. "Because no matter how much clothing you are wearing, you're still going to get cold when it's zero degrees or colder."

Brockman says the tools they use to fight fires are also affected by the cold.

"We have to do things like crack our hose lines, constantly moving water through. Just like the pipes in your house, you don't want it to freeze," said Brockman "So if you keep a little water flowing though there it doesn't freeze."

But the fire department responds to more than fire calls. Firefighters say crashes can also be dangerous when the temperatures dip.

"We have to get to the scene as well," said Brockman. "And if ice caused a car accident, that means obviously the road is dangerous so just driving these big trucks on the roads can be difficult."

But Brockman says he and his fellow firefighters are up for the challenge.

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