Highway crews and firefighters battle the cold - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Highway crews and firefighters battle the cold

By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - When it gets brutally cold you not only have to be careful inside your home, but outside as well! The cold temperatures are a shock to the system as soon as we step out the door. But just imagine working outdoors for long periods of time.

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department has been doing just that. Whether it's 100 degrees or 15 degrees the roads must be tended to.  

Steve Leath, Area Maintenance Supervisor said, "There's limited things we can get done in the winter time but this is one of them. This is a winter time job that we do every winter."

Leath said his crew has been out sealing cracks in the roads to keep potholes from forming. Although it's cold his workers keep trucking along.

"We've got dedicated employees here at our crew. They do a good job and know what is expected," Leath said.

But when the temperatures fall into the twenties and thirties for daytime highs, it's time to take precautions.

Leath said, "They dress well, number one with several layers. We take breaks and make sure they don't get too cold."

Sometimes the number of layers they wear can cause a problem.

Leath said, "When you're actually working out here and shoveling this sand you can get too hot."

According to Leath, that can lead to a chilling effect. He said they keep a close eye on each other when working in extreme weather conditions to make sure no one gets over fatigued.

It's not just road crews that are battling the cold, firefighters are too.

Battalion Fire Chief Alan Dunn said, "Water on the street when it freezes at 14 degrees it's going to freeze very quickly. It becomes a slip hazard."

But the weather can create a hazard for others that attend fires too.

"The environmental factors create a hazard for the firefighters. Not only for ourselves but for the other people that are here whether it be EMS or utilities," said Dunn.

If you have to be outdoors in the cold for long periods of time be sure to dress in layers. Also wear a hat because most of the heat from our body escapes through your head. Don't forget to wear gloves or mittens and a scarf.

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