URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — When it comes to winter storms, the Urbana Fire Department knows it’s the extra time spent preparing for the wintry conditions that make the difference.
Andy Stewart with the Urbana Fire Department Stewart said they take the wintry conditions seriously, “we train every single day because of the passion we bring to be prepared for those,” said Stewart.
With temperatures below freezing and dangerous road conditions, he said his crews are prepared.
“So getting up if it’s overnight, out of bed, getting down, we have fire poles in this station, right, what’s the point of that, it’s to reduce the time we don’t have to go down the stairs,” Stewart said.
“I packed my bag with extra gloves, hat, long sleeves, I have an extra jacket today and then things for car accidents,” Tara Stigers said.
So, what does a call look like in these conditions?
Typically a crew of four go to the scene, they need at least three on a rig.
“It’s definitely an eyes on day, right with the snow, we know slick, we know drivers, it’s one of the more dangerous places we can be is on the roadway,” Stewart said.
“Make sure that we’re protected from traffic when we get out, make sure we go out together,” Stigers said.
Trucks are also properly equipped.
“Our pumps, our fire engines all have pumps, so we need to keep those pumps circulating, cleared out, cleaned out and anything freezing,” Stewart said.
Stewart says hydrants in our area are dry, which limits any issues.
“The top half of the hydrant is really air, there’s no water in it and that water wont start until below the frost line,” Stewart said.
If crews can’t connect right way, they will pivot to the next hydrant, all in effort to keep the community safe.
The fire department also said they keep the rig on while responding to calls to keep crews warm. MTD can also provide buses to crews on large fires and larger accidents to help stage personnel and people affected.
Safety tips at home
Stewart recommends people should pay attention to things around the house that could spark a flame.
“Extension cords to space heaters a bad idea, right, the gage of those extension cords are going to be much smaller and the drawn, but keeping an eye on them, being in the room,” Stewart said.
He says cook with caution too.
“Maybe a stove top, right, using the flame on a stove top, sometimes we have some of those gasses get unburned and they cause carbon monoxide throughout the house or through the home.”