PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Battling fires in the hot summer days can have its challenges, but so can fighting fires in brutally cold temperatures as well for Region 8 fire departments.
Kevin Lang, Paragould fire chief, said they have been lucky this year, but they are all too familiar with the obstacles at hand when battling fires in single-digit temperatures.
"What we run into as far as the firefighting sides, when we have water flowing from our hydrants in the teens and single digits, the water freezes," said Lang. "The biggest problem is with footing for our firefighters as they are trying to get around. It can be dangerous and treacherous."
Lang said an example is a couple of years ago when they had to fight a large fire in cold temperatures such as Monday.
"We had guys slipping and falling all over the place," said Lang. "Luckily no one made it out with injuries but that can be painful. Not to mention the frostbite that can happen when our men are out in those temps for extended periods of time."
Lang said the colder temps can also be damaging to their equipment.
"When you turn a nozzle off and lay it on the ground as you're tending to another matter on the scene, it is likely going to be frozen when you pick it back up," said Lang. "You can tear your nozzles up or strip the bales out so it is, like anything, zero degrees is tough on your body and tough on your equipment too so it makes it hard in that respect."
Lang said though it hasn't happened in several years, they have seen house fires start from people trying to thaw their pipes in a dangerous fashion.
"When people have their pipes frozen, we have seen them take a space heater and place it in the crawl space of their homes where their plumbing is exposed," said Lang. "Some people even use gas heaters under their homes or a kerosene torpedo heater which is an actual direct flame on their pipes. When it gets to something like wood under the house, it can cause a major fire."
Lang said they will always get the job done no matter what the temperatures may be, but to prevent any issues with their home from happening regarding the cold, keep your faucets running and leave your cabinet doors open.
"Knock on wood, we haven't had anyone with a house fire due to them trying to thaw their pipes but if you do find that your pipes are frozen, be sure to call a specialist before trying to get rid of the problem yourself," said Lang.