Fighting fires in cold temperatures

"Water evaporates temperature from your body 25 times faster than air.”

Posted: Jan 29, 2019 5:05 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa – “It’s a brutally cold environment and you get wet and of course that evaporates. Water evaporates temperature from your body 25 times faster than air,” said Mason City Fire Department Captain Jack Odegaard.

Capt. Odegaard was one of the many firefighters on scene Tuesday morning, dealing with actual temperatures near 10-below which he says is always cause for concern.

“It’s something we always concern ourselves with and then we rotate our guys in and out,” said Capt. Odegaard. “A lot of times they have to go in and if they get really wet. We’ll send them into a place to get warmed up and then they’ll come back.”

Surprisingly, firefighters don’t layer-up as much as you would think.

“You can wear a sweatshirt under your gear and stuff like that,” said Josh Deverell, Firefighter and Paramedic. “Otherwise it’s bringing extras – extra gloves and extra hoods. That way if you do get water on them and they start freezing, you can switch them out.”

But the freezing water isn’t just tough on the men wearing boots and bunker gear.

“On this one we drove out to the fire which was on North Federal (Avenue). By the time we got there, one of the valves on this rig got stuck shut,” said Odegaard. “A lot of times we run into where the water will freeze right out of the nozzle. So one of the things we do is we’ll crack the bail or keep the nozzle open – it’s dribbling a little bit of water but we do that so it doesn’t freeze up.”

Captain Odegaard also encourages everyone do dress in layers with the extremely cold temperatures this week in order to avoid serious frostbite.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 489116

Reported Deaths: 6614
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1014901592
Ramsey43327810
Dakota36619394
Anoka33496391
Washington22208262
Stearns18822202
St. Louis14887265
Scott13403107
Wright12609116
Olmsted1185990
Sherburne878574
Carver787641
Clay695588
Rice677691
Blue Earth601035
Kandiyohi581274
Crow Wing523582
Chisago501745
Otter Tail486071
Benton450990
Winona419749
Mower410831
Douglas394568
Goodhue389069
Nobles387247
Polk345063
McLeod341250
Beltrami338951
Morrison327747
Becker314842
Itasca314646
Lyon313845
Isanti309456
Steele303611
Carlton300449
Freeborn286424
Pine283216
Nicollet262441
Todd249730
Brown248237
Le Sueur238120
Mille Lacs229447
Cass221224
Waseca210417
Meeker208134
Martin190829
Wabasha18733
Roseau181017
Hubbard161041
Houston158214
Dodge15404
Renville152640
Redwood147127
Fillmore13969
Pennington138716
Chippewa136935
Cottonwood136020
Wadena131420
Faribault124917
Aitkin119133
Sibley118310
Watonwan11828
Rock116314
Kanabec108820
Pipestone101824
Yellow Medicine97717
Murray9548
Jackson94610
Swift87818
Pope8165
Marshall78615
Stevens7478
Lake74218
Clearwater72014
Lac qui Parle68716
Wilkin67711
Koochiching62111
Big Stone5173
Lincoln5122
Grant4928
Norman4798
Unassigned44768
Mahnomen4437
Kittson41021
Red Lake3615
Traverse3115
Lake of the Woods2221
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 337676

Reported Deaths: 5494
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk52087560
Linn19512317
Scott17167212
Black Hawk14970293
Woodbury13847214
Johnson1317075
Dubuque12450196
Dallas1022593
Pottawattamie9897146
Story965045
Warren514976
Clinton502684
Cerro Gordo501383
Webster495788
Sioux480369
Marshall465273
Des Moines428461
Muscatine426393
Buena Vista413237
Wapello4059110
Jasper387767
Plymouth368978
Lee354653
Marion341571
Jones285155
Henry279837
Bremer270555
Carroll266948
Crawford253635
Boone244330
Benton241154
Washington239547
Mahaska215746
Jackson210339
Dickinson204240
Tama203065
Kossuth198655
Delaware186240
Clay184425
Winneshiek183628
Fayette179335
Page178119
Buchanan177829
Wright174531
Hamilton173942
Cedar172723
Hardin170239
Harrison167670
Clayton160254
Butler159331
Mills148520
Floyd148141
Poweshiek148030
Cherokee146236
Lyon145741
Allamakee144848
Madison143218
Iowa140723
Hancock138030
Grundy132430
Winnebago130531
Calhoun129611
Cass129651
Jefferson128634
Appanoose123247
Louisa122644
Mitchell120740
Chickasaw119915
Union119331
Sac118818
Shelby117634
Emmet115340
Humboldt113725
Franklin109719
Guthrie109628
Palo Alto101721
Howard99722
Unassigned9720
Montgomery96936
Clarke95120
Keokuk92429
Monroe90028
Ida81832
Adair81630
Pocahontas80919
Davis76623
Monona76527
Greene73110
Lucas72221
Osceola68315
Worth6678
Taylor64112
Decatur5719
Fremont5619
Van Buren53718
Ringgold50620
Audubon4759
Wayne47221
Adams3194
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 29°
Mason City
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 28°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 26°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 30°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 29°
Winds will pick up for Sunday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events