How winter weather is impacting local fire crews

SPOKANE, Wash–A 90-degree day and a freezing, snowy day like we have seen throughout the week are actually quite similar–for firefighters at least.

That’s because of dehydration.

“We need to keep the firefighters hydrated in these conditions as well,” Jay Atwood with the Spokane Fire Department said. “No different than a 90-degree day even when it’s sub-freezing temperatures, we need to be conscientious about that as well.”

The Spokane Fire Department responded to a house fire on 16th Avenue on Wednesday. No one was home when the fire started and firefighters were able to put it out without injury.

READ: Firefighters knock down house fire in Lincoln Heights neighborhood

That said, winter’s freezing temperatures can complicate things for crews before they even get to the scene.

“Even before we arrive at the scene of a fire, in these kind of conditions we have a hard time navigating potentially to get there in the ice and snow covered streets,” Atwood said.

Those icy conditions could make things even harder once crews arrive, too.

“We’re adding more water trying to get water on the fire to get the fire put out, and that extra water creates really hazardous conditions,” Atwood said.

There isn’t much they can do to stop the snow from falling or those temperatures from dropping.  But, you can help them by keeping those fire hydrants clear of snow.

“Be conscious about where the hydrants are located, and if at all possible, help maintain a clear path around those hydrants so that we can locate them very easily,” Atwood said.