MAINE, USA — When this weekend's cold blast hits Maine, it's likely many across the state will be hunkered down inside staying warm. But for first responders like firefighters and EMS crews, it's another day on the job.
"It's not fair weather firefighting. You go out and do what you've got to do, no matter what the weather is," Saco Deputy Fire Chief Robert Martin said.
Martin said it will be very important to work to keep first responders when responding to emergencies.
"Obviously our crews can't perform our work if they're cold to a point where they can't feel their fingertips," Martin said.
According to Martin, in the event of an extended emergency response, additional crews will be utilized to allow for rotations. He said a bus from Biddeford can be utilized too as a space to keep warm.
"I remember going out on some [calls] where you have ice build up on your helmets, your coat freezes, you get ice everywhere," Westbrook Fire Chief Steve Sloan said.
Cold weather is nothing new to Sloan, who's been a first responder for decades. In Westbrook, additional ambulances will respond to emergency scenes to provide a space for first responders to get warm.
"It's going to take significant resources and additional personnel so that we can rotate people so that they're not getting hypothermic," Sloan said.
Sloan said when temperatures drop this much, it causes problems with equipment needed to fight fires. He said it will be important to keep water flowing to prevent hoses from freezing.
"The next couple nights, it's going to be tricky. Because our hose lines tend to freeze, and our employees more importantly get very cold," Sloan said.
Firefighters recommend checking your heat sources ahead of the cold blast to ensure they're working properly and have been maintained correctly.