Firefighters battle flames, brutal conditions during winter call - KCTV5 News

Firefighters battle flames, brutal conditions during winter calls

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Firefighters who responded to the home dealt not only with flames but also with ice and snow from Sunday’s winter weather and with temperatures in the single digits. (KCTV5) Firefighters who responded to the home dealt not only with flames but also with ice and snow from Sunday’s winter weather and with temperatures in the single digits. (KCTV5)
The Overland Park Fire Department says firefighters do not wear any additional gear during the winter months, fighting fires in nothing more than their summer gear. (KCTV5) The Overland Park Fire Department says firefighters do not wear any additional gear during the winter months, fighting fires in nothing more than their summer gear. (KCTV5)
FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -

Firefighters in Kansas City, MO, battled a house fire and frigid temperatures early Monday morning.

The fire started shortly before 3:30 a.m. at a home near 29th Terrace and Oakley Avenue.

Fire crews were able to put out the flames and are monitoring potential hotspots.

Officials say the home was vacant.

Firefighters who responded to the home dealt not only with flames but also with ice and snow from Sunday’s winter weather and with temperatures in the single digits.

Officials say fighting fires in the winter months presents a unique set of circumstances.

Frigid temperatures are a big part of the problem as fire equipment and fire hydrants can freeze if the mercury drops too low. Dropping temperatures can also leave firefighters exposed to extreme cold.

“Especially in the cold weather, you’ll see video of firefighters often have icicles just hanging off of their fire helmets and that’s a very common concern that we have,” OPFD firefighter Tyler Butts said.

The Overland Park Fire Department says firefighters do not wear any additional gear during the winter months, fighting fires in nothing more than their summer gear.

“Our gear does not change,” Butts said. “We wear the same firefighting equipment when its 100-degrees or -5-degrees. Fortunately, it does provide us a little bit of warmth.”

Firefighters say their departments handle the cold weather in similar ways to handling intense heat.

“In Johnson County, we have a lot of resources,” Butts said. “We send extra resources to scenes. Just like we would on a hot day, on a cold day we rotate crews in and out in a very similar fashion.”

But not all the calls are fire related. Fire officials say 80-percent of their calls are medical-related. They say the department takes extra precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and the patient.

“When we go on emergency medical calls, obviously we have some concerns everybody does, slick driveways, slick steps, slick porches,” Butts said. “We have the yack trap type cleats to go on boots, keeps us safe on sidewalks that might be icy.”

As winter continues, firefighters say there are ways that homeowners can work to keep them safe.

“If you are able to spread ice melt and safely clear your driveway, that would help us as emergency responders,” Butts said. "But, if you’re not able, we can do it when we get to that call and maybe assist you.”

Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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