SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — Local fire departments are busy this time of year responding to many calls from frozen pipes bursting, fires at boarded-up structures being used for shelter, but also electrical fires from furnaces and space heaters.
With the colder temps on the way, it can be a challenge for firefighters to respond.
The icy roads can slow response, but the cold temps can make it harder to get water.
Many departments, like Sedgwick County, bring in extra trucks with about 2,000 to 2,500 gallons of water just in case fire hydrants are frozen.
“We check hydrants before we hook to them and make sure they are not frozen. We take several different precautions, especially with our crews operating in these cold temperatures. We will call in extra crews for help, we will make sure they are equipped the way they need to be, we will get them in and get them out and get them out of the weather as soon as possible,” said Sedgwick County Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeremy Whitney.
The Wichita Fire Department (WFD) said that Christmas is the second leading for calls of unattended cooking fires.
While crews are preparing to respond in this winter weather, they ask everyone to know what to do to keep themselves safe this holiday season.
“Your heater is going to cycle on more, so not only is there if your heater is not functioning properly, there could be some fire risk but there could be a carbon monoxide risk as well,” said Derby Fire Chief John Turner.
“If you are going to use a fireplace, make sure it has been checked and cleaned before use,” said Chief Whitney.
WFD said not to use your oven to heat your home as it can cause carbon monoxide build-up.
If you are using a space heater, WFD said to make sure it is plugged directly into an outlet as they use too much electricity for an extension cord.
“Make sure that you have a safety zone around there, make sure that a possibility that a blanket or pillow doesn’t get in contact with it,” said WFD Battalion Chief Jose Ocadiz.
If you plan on spending some time outside, firefighters ask you to avoid walking on any bodies of water as they will not be fully frozen.
“Your pet or the animal gets onto the ice. That is an emergency for the fire department,” said Chief Turner.
Carbon monoxide calls are big for fire departments this time of year. Experts said to test your detector now to make sure it is working properly during these colder days ahead. If you do not have a carbon monoxide detector, it is recommended that you get one.