As a member of an Ohio fire department, our weather can be a study of extremes. We all know about the dangers of hot weather, Dehydration, Sun exposure, Heat stroke. It is pounded into our heads to increase water consumption, stay cool, and what-not. But what about winter, when the Mercury dropps below freezing. These temps can be just as dangerous.
These are a few tricks I have learned and pass on to my crews:
1) Do not over-dress, sweat is sweat, no matter what the ambient temps are outside, furthermore once you return to the cold exterior temperatures the sweat will cause your body to chill faster.
2) Pack heavy, keep extra clothing and gear in the truck. I keep an extra t-shirt, sweatshirt, extra nomex, and extra structural and extrication gloves. Also, socks are like gold when your feet are wet and its 10 degrees out.
3) I will almost always put nitrile exam gloves on under my structural or rescue gloves. Wet gloves suck but wet hands are worse.
4) Dont be a hero, have extra manpower ready.
5) If you are an engineer, invest in a set of traction aid devices for your boots, I use Stable-icers, they have replacable cleats and are easy to don.
6) Officers, make friends with the local DOT or county engineers, and use them, sand and salt are great to have at your disposal, not to mention a standby plow truck if you are in a rural like we are.
7) Finally be responsible for your health, stretch frequently, eat high carb- high calorie meals, and dont forget to drink water, I love coffee as much as anyone, but it has to be done.
If you have any other ideas to add or any thoughts please let me know. I am not an expert I am just going from experience!