Jan 6, 2016 5:45 PM

Freezing temperatures of winter months make Laconia firefighters' job more difficult

LACONIA - With temperatures below freezing the past few days, it’s been a reminder for those on the front lines of how winter temperatures make fighting fires a real challenge.

The fire crews in Laconia say among their biggest concerns when the temperature drops is the ice and how it can hurt their equipment, fire gear and - most importantly - themselves.

“It’s been very cold these last few days," said Assistant Fire Chief Kirk Beattie in Laconia. "We’ve been very cold.”

Unfortunately when the temperatures drop, it makes firefighters' jobs that much more difficult.

“Slips, trips and falls are going to be our primary injury hazard,” said Lieutenant Jeff Desrosiers.

Not only do firefighters have to focus on what’s in front of them, but they have to take extra care during the winter months to look out for themselves.

“When we’re operating, we have a job to focus on and where were putting our feet isn’t on the forefront of our minds,” Desrosiers said.

Let’s not forget all the water these guys deal with.

Once the water hits the cold air it can freeze on their gear, in their hose lines and sometimes, even the hydrant will be frozen.

“Sometimes your fire gear will get wet and freeze solid," Desrosiers said. "It won’t even bend or move if it’s that cold out.”

On Tuesday, fire crews responded to a fire on Elm Street in Laconia, and the high temperature was well below the freezing mark - causing some slick spots on the roadways.

Crews said they are having to pack salt and sand in the trucks just to ensure a safe arrival to the scene.

“The roads can get dangerous with ice and snow, which can delay our response,” Beattie said.

The Laconia Fire Department wants to remind the public to do their part if they can like clearing a path to your home and keep hydrants clear of snow - which makes their jobs a little bit easier in the winter.

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