Emergency teams prepare for cold weather response


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – On cold days like this, people often try to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid the frigid temperatures, but work can sometimes force you to face the elements.

KSN talked with those who have to be in cold about how they cope with it.

First responders say they don’t get to choose the day an emergency strikes. Whether it’s a car accident or a house fire, they say it’s important for them to be there and be prepared.

When Cole Mitchell and his team rush to a cold weather emergency, he says they are ready to help.

“All the crews do a really good job of keeping extra blankets on hand, keeping patients warm,” said Capt. Cole Mitchell, Sedgwick County EMS.

“I also have another long sleeve shirt under that,” said Lt. Roger Graham, Sedgwick County EMS.

Mitchell says first responders dress in layers to bear cooler temperatures, as well as wear gloves and hats at emergencies. Though the team says their main focus during cold weather months is always getting the patient out of the cold.

“Once we get them into the ambulance, it’s not as big of a deal because we have great heaters in the truck,” said Graham.

Other first responders have ways they deal with the chill. The Wichita Fire Department utilizes a rehab bus during extreme weather months to check on their team.

“They’ll come to the scene, and we can get them out of the elements, get them out of the extreme heat or extreme cold, provide them a place where they can rest, and that’s also where we can monitor their condition,” said Douglas Winter, Battalion Chief at WFD

Winter says firefighters will also rotate positions at scenes more often to help them work more efficiently. He says these are important to get the job done with no health emergencies of their own.

“When we come outside on a day like this, when you have nine degree wind chill, it can take effect on us pretty fast,” said Winter.

Mitchell says some of the most vulnerable people during these months are the elderly and homeless. He stressed how important it is to stay indoors during very cold days and dress warm.

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