‘We plan for the worst’: Amarillo area firefighters prepare for frigid temperatures

Amarillo area firefighters prepare to face many challenges with wintry weather
Amarillo area firefighters prepare to face many challenges with wintry weather(KFDA)
Updated: Feb. 12, 2021 at 9:26 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - First responders are preparing to continue to serve the community even through the extremely low temperatures and snow forecasted.

The Randall County Fire Marshal says typically fire stations become busier when there is wintry weather due to people trying to stay warm at home and many trying to unfreeze their own pipes.

On top of the increase, they are also dealing with issues of their own.

“When we fight a fire in weather like this, our gear will literally freeze and stand up on its own. We do what we can to keep everything dry and have replacements if we need it, but it gets pretty brutal out there,” said Cody Snyder, captain, public information officer, Amarillo Fire Department.

Area firefighters are preparing for the issue’s frigid temperatures over the next few days could bring.

“We plan for the worst, so if we have to stay out extended hours, we’re going to have those resources available to us,” said Troy Ducheneaux, Randall County Fire Marshal.

Ducheneaux says the winter weather causes an increase in calls, and the Randall County Fire Department is already busy.

“People are trying to stay warm. We see people’s water start to freeze up, so they are trying to do make shift aids to get that water unfrozen so they are using devices that aren’t normally recommended for those type of purposes,” said Ducheneaux.

On top of the expected increase of calls, firefighters also have to deal with the impact the cold has on their equipment.

“One of the main problems we have is our trucks are full of water. Anywhere from five hundred gallons to one thousand gallons of water. Every pipe on there is full of water. When we come in, we’ll drain the pumps. We have drains on all the lines, we can open them and drain those out. We don’t want them to freeze,” said Snyder.

To get through the snow to those in need, fire departments are being strategic with what vehicles they send out.

“We’re sending our fire engines out for medicals only when necessary. We’re using other vehicles to go out first or support trucks to answer those medicals so we can keep those trucks in,” said Ducheneaux.

“Some of our wild land trucks are four-wheel drive. A lot of times those will accompany our fire engines. We can use those to pull ambulances out if they get stuck or other fire trucks,” said Snyder.

The Amarillo Fire Department says to expect a bit of a delay, about one to two minutes longer than normal due to the snow and ice conditions.

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