BECKLEY, W.Va. (WOAY) – Local fire departments began preparing for winter weather since November, but fire fighters still have to be careful to stay warm.
“If they’re in the building, it’s really warm in there,” said Beckley Fire Department Captain Joe Coughlin. “They’re exerting themselves, so they’re going to sweat, so they’re coming from that one extreme hot environment to the extreme cold environment, so the issue is hypothermia.”
In November, firefighters go through pages of procedures to make sure the fire department is prepared for the winter. Those procedures include inspecting chains for the truck and dressing in layers.
“We usually remind everybody in November to carry extra socks, extra gloves, extra hoods,” said Coughlin. “We have a spare set of gear, so if we’re out on a call and get wet, when we come back they can trade out to a dry set of gear, so the next call they have dry gear.”
Coughlin said a majority of their winter calls are accidents due to people driving too fast on icy roads and house fires caused by heating mishaps.
“People bring out their space heaters and if they’re electric space heaters, they don’t have the proper extension cords and the cords overheat. If we have power outages, people start burning candles in their home. Anytime you have an open flame, it’s not a good idea.”