First responders adjust in cold weather conditions - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

First responders adjust in cold weather conditions

Posted: Updated:
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, TN (WRCB) -

The icy conditions have created some dangerous conditions for some workers. It's affecting how local emergency response crews work to keep people safe.

Hamilton County EMS paramedic, David Thompson, told Eyewitness News the ambulances have snow chains to help increase traction while driving to an emergency.

"We just hit a switch, and the chains go under the tires so we can get through an icy patch," he said.

Thompson is a 25-year paramedic veteran, and said he uses extra caution behind the wheel -- and on foot. Even when roads are cleared, he said carrying a stretcher on unsalted sidewalks or driveways isn't easy.

"There can be ice under the sand or salt, and you're not aware of it," he said.

"The slips, trips and falls hazard for emergency personnel are increased when it's this cold," said Signal Mountain Fire Chief, Eric Mitchell.

Frozen hose lines and fire hydrants can pose potential problems when fighting fires, he said, as well as lack of experience in subzero temps.

"There are several firefighters that have never had to fight a fire in this extreme cold," Mitchell said.

Therefore, some normal tasks must be done differently while exercising extra caution.

"The runs of the ladder are going to be slick, the roof's going to be slick, and just pulling a hose line off the truck on frozen ground can create problems."

Crews haven't reported any major issues with this snow storm, but responders say they're ready for the worst.

"It's just part of the job," said Thompson. "That's what we signed up for... to help people."

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