Extreme cold poses a challenge for first responders

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The coldest arctic surge of the season is ushering its way into Western New York. Forecasters expect wind chills as low as 25 below.

The extreme cold will be a challenge for everyone, but the challenge is much different for first responders.

“It’s very very scary for our folks, but it’s the windchill that’s pushing it to -20 and -30 degrees in some areas of our region and that’s really the super super dangerous part,” said Donald Trzepacz with Mercy Flight WNY.

The cold could affect emergency response times, especially when ambulances break down or freeze.

“You can certainly see things begin to freeze and the same happens on the vehicles, the ambulances and fly-cars that emergency medical services use are typically outside continuously throughout the day,” said Trzepacz.

Trzepacz says there was a bit of a challenge responding to Tuesday’s multi-car pile up on the thruway. “”In that circumstance the visibility was an issue.”

The bone chilling cold could also slow first responders down, they wear extra layers and carry extra equipment.

“Which could certainly slow their ability to climb stairs and access different locations that they need to access,” said Trzepacz.

While no amount of cold will stop first responders from saving lives, Trzepacz says it’s the little things that keeps them going.

“If the public was to do anything for them on these cold cold days, offer them a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, it will warm not only your heart, but it will warm their heart and keep them going for the next person.”

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