Firefighters Battle Deep Freeze

By  | 

During the eight years Tony Parker has been a Lansing Firefighter/Paramedic, he's never seen weather quite like this.

"I don't know that I recall working on a shift when it was this cold, and there had been this much snow. It's been one or the other a time or two, but never both," said Parker.

News Ten's Brian Johnson rode along with Engine 49 Tuesday for about 4 hours.

The sub-zero temperatures are hard on both the crew and the equipment. During some point this week, each of the four Lansing Fire Department ambulances have been stuck.

While we rode along, a gauge froze, and an ambulance needed help because its siren and lights stopped working. Engine 49 turned on its lights and got the ambulance and patient to McLaren Hospital quickly.

"The weather will dictate our response to make sure that we are giving the citizens of Lansing the service that they deserve and expect from us," said Bill Christiansen Lansing Fire Department.

Since the bad weather hit, the department has sent each ambulance with an fire engine. The crew is glad to help, even if the bad weather makes the job harder.

"It's a little bit more taxing when it's this cold out, plus shoveling on every run that we go on--by the end of the shift you're pretty well beat," said Parker.

Despite the below freezing temperatures the firefighters still have to be able to go at a moments notice. They leave their boots right by the trucks so they can jump in and go. Some of firefighters are wearing extra layers to keep them warm.

The weather has meant an uptick in service requests, while we rode along they got three calls. Since Sunday morning the entire Lansing Fire Department has made more than 170 calls.

Hospitals have also seen an increase in need because of the sub-zero temperatures.

Doctors at Sparrow and McLaren have seen a few cases of frostbite. Allegiance has treated some people with respiratory illnesses from the cold air. All of the hospitals said they have seen injuries from slips and falls on the ice.

The Lansing Fire Department is able to take both fire and medical calls, because each person is cross trained.

"We're all either EMTs or paramedics. All the firefighters take turns riding on the fire apparatus and on the ambulances," said Parker.

The department's fleet is aging. Some of the trucks leak water while they are making runs--which in the current weather turns to ice. By the end of the year the Lansing Fire Department expects to get three or four new fire engines.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus