Odessa firefighters always prepped during freezing temperatures

Odessa firefighters always prepped during freezing temperatures

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - With the Arctic Blast passing through the Basin, you're probably feeling the effects of those freezing temperatures. But firefighters always stay prepared whenever those temperatures hit while responding to a fire.

Just like them, it's all about movement in their engines, which prevents damage in freezing temperatures. That's why they follow a standardized process when temperatures reach the 30's.

"We check them every morning when someone goes on shift, whenever something pops up, we take care of it then and there," said Firefighter Paramedic Andrew McElroy with Odessa Fire and Rescue.

First, engines are kept indoors, where each bay contains heaters to avoid pumps from freezing. But when they're on scene of a fire, keeping those pumps running when there's no heat is key.

"Keeping it moving keeps it from freezing," said McElroy. "The minute it stops, the minute the engine shuts off, it stays stagnant, its starts leading to freezing potential."

Firefighters rarely ever off their engines when responding to a fire, so even if that means staying on scene for a few hours, those trucks will stay running through the night.

"Your pumps can be hot so hopefully that water stays warm hot enough not to freeze and if you're outside for long durations, you can blow seals in the pump and you're looking at a unit being down," said McElroy. "Then it takes that unit out of service and we're not able to do our job if we do have a structure fire, house fire, car fire or something of that nature."

Freezing water is an engine's biggest enemy in cold weather operations. But that's why staying prepped and proper circulation keeps firefighters operating in service.

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